How Much Viewing Data Do Networks Need From Off-Network Partners?

Netflix knows what I like and what I hate -- in theory. Is that enough to figure out what I’ll want in the future? And will traditional TV networks/producers be happy with this?

Netflix doesn’t offer up “viewing” estimates for any of its TV shows and movies to the business press — and, perhaps more importantly, to other TV networks and producers it does business with.

Yet traditional TV networks need feedback when it comes to how their programming is performing in the digital video space and elsewhere.

Currently, big broadcast-based TV networks do get this kind of data when they sell a “Modern Family” to USA Network, or a “Big Bang Theory” to TBS, or when selling shows into the U.S. domestic syndication market to TV stations. That data comes via Nielsen -- the same company that delivers broadcast TV ratings.

Major TV content providers -- Disney-ABC, 21st Century Fox, and NBCUniversal -- obviously get specific viewing data when it comes to their Hulu, the subscription video-on-demand platform that the three companies co-own.



Going forward, however, the major TV content providers may look to take more control of their digital program airings. That may be a good competitive advantage, since expectations are that Netflix will start producing their own TV programming -- not just buying previously aired programming or funding TV producers to create new TV series.

But that’s not the end of story. Nielsen will start providing estimates of Netflix viewing activity. Why is Nielsen doing this?

Going back to initial query: Nielsen wants to provide/sell SVOD data to big TV studios/producers so they can more fully understand the performance their shows -- even with the imperfections observers say Nielsen brings when it comes to viewing estimates.

If you can’t get anything near actual “big data,” maybe estimated “modest data” will do.

1 comment about "How Much Viewing Data Do Networks Need From Off-Network Partners?".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 23, 2015 at 1:49 p.m.

    Netflix needs the feedback, too, and has it, but doesn't see the need to share that feedback with its competitors, including the trade press.

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