Netflix does not reveal any information related to the viewership of any particular show with anyone – be it the content providers, media or Wall Street. The firm always says that since it does not need to please advertisers, it is irrelevant to discuss ratings. But now, the viewership numbers will no longer be secret as content measurement specialist Nielsen is already tracking some Netflix shows, and shows of other online services as well such as Amazon’s Prime Instant Video and Hulu, says a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Nielsen data to help media firms
Nielsen noted that it is tracking around 1000 shows, and a detailed breakdown of viewership data is sent to most of the major TV studios so they can assess the performance of their programs. They also get data on the total number of viewers for any episode, and also basic demographics such as age and gender.
New data could give media giants such as Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, Time Warner Inc. and 21st Century Fox more leverage in negotiations with the streaming services for content licensing. Netflix’s data is most desired by these companies as it is the industry giant. Now, when they get to know that their shows are performing well, they can raise the fees when it is time to renew the deal.
If it turns out that the original shows are not performing as well as other content, then it could become a serious issue for Wall Street, considering the investment that the streaming firm has been making in original content. Netflix has, however, been belittling the efforts by Nielsen, saying that the ratings do not include the content viewed on tablets and phones, and its viewership outside the U.S.
Netflix shares limited with few studios
Nevertheless, viewing information is shared by Netflix with few studios, according to the WSJ report. Some large studios have succeeded at negotiating with Netflix for data such as the number of times a show has been streamed and other tracking info. But even in these cases, Netflix does not provide the number of viewers for any individual episode or the demographic breakdowns.
A spokesperson for Netflix said the data shared by the company is very limited, and no data has been shared regarding its original shows and the shows produced by major studios. However, there is one exception; Twentieth Century Fox Television’s Arrested Development, the executive noted.