It’s no secret that Netflix is now the most popular streaming service in the world. But the company has been very secretive in recent years about its viewership numbers for its original shows and films. However, this policy will now change. According to Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer at Netflix, the streaming service wants to offer more transparency. Sarandos was speaking during an investors call on Tuesday. He said that the company will now release more specific granular data to different groups in the coming few weeks.
The producers of the various shows will be the first to get the viewership numbers. After that, subscribers will be given a copy before the information is released to the press. Sarandos notes that the goal is to be more transparent. Lately, the streaming service has been opening up to the idea of releasing more data related to its platform. Just last December, Netflix claimed that more than 45 million accounts watched the horror movie Bird Box seven days after it was released.
Despite this increased transparency, the company is yet to confirm how the data will be collected and the type of information that will be made public. However, a spokesman from the company told a number of news outlets that an account must watch more than 70% of the total running time of a given show or movie in order to be counted as a view. Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings also noted that moving forward the viewership data will be released on a quarterly basis.
Becoming more transparent will be a big move for Netflix. In the past, the streaming service has often pushed back on calls to make its viewership data public. Many investors and analysts had also started to question just how many people are watching content on the platform especially when Netflix decided to pay $100 million in licensing fees for the show Friends. Some analysts have also raised issues about the ratings for Netflix shows. They argue that it’s very difficult to verify a rating system that’s done internally by the company.
At one point Netflix even claimed that, based on its own internal data, the crime drama Narcos had a bigger viewership than Game of Thrones. It is possible that this is true given how popular Narcos has become. But since there’s no transparency on how the streaming service arrived at that conclusion, some analysts have remained skeptical.
Nonetheless, the new changes in policy could make things a little bit more believable. It will now be possible to know how many people are watching certain shows or movies and even how Netflix has arrived at those figures. This will help investors make sense of how successful the streaming service actually is. It will also be crucial in reducing speculation and guesswork that we have seen in the past regarding the number of people watching original content on the platform.