Netflix and Amazon Prime viewership will soon be tracked by Nielsen, which plans to provide the viewing data for both the companies for the first time beginning mid-year, claims Mitch Barns, Nielsen CEO, on Tuesday. Both Amazon Prime and Netflix have been reluctant to share the viewing information of their subscribers.
Rising popularity of Netflix, Amazon
In an interview with Bloomberg, Barns said, “That will be the last significant portion of overall television content viewing that we don’t already measure.” Barns added that by doing so, the company will now be able to measure the total audience over all screens, devices and platforms.
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According to a Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, which came out last week, the growth in streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime has gone hand in hand with the drop in the live TV viewing, especially among the younger audiences. It also noted that the number of U.S. homes having a subscription to an online streaming services has increased to 41% compared to 36% last year.
As estimated by Channel Advisor Corp., Netflix has more than 57 million members globally, which includes over 39 million in the U.S., while Amazon Prime has about 40 million members.
Nielsen comes to the rescue TV networks
Netflix has long refused to reveal their viewer data as they do not sell ads or pay any fees to the cable operators. This was confirmed by a Netflix spokesman, who told Bloomberg that “Collecting ratings on streaming services is an outdated mode of doing business”. Due to this, both the companies have enjoyed leverage in negotiations for the movies and re-runs, and has, in turn, made it difficult for the TV networks to assess the value of past hits or to measure the effects of streaming on traditional viewing.
To help solve this problem, Nielsen has been experimenting on a technology that can size up the audiences of Netflix and Amazon and share the results with selected clients. The set-top boxes employed by Nielsen capture the information for the company. However, the technology does not work when it comes to original shows by Netflix such as House of Cards.