What does Netflix think about Nielsen's efforts to measure viewing of TV programming on its platform? Maybe just a shrug of the shoulders.
Netflix has long said that because it is not an ad-supported service, it doesn’t serve anyone to release viewership data — publicly, anyway.
Privately? That may be another matter. Major TV-movie studios/networks make deals with Netflix — and in return, sometimes, Netflix offers data of how those network programs are performing.
That’s only fair. Still, TV executives say that data isn’t much.
With the announcements of its SVOD measuring service — which will start by only analyzing Netflix — Nielsen provides viewership results of some Netflix shows.
For example, “The Defenders” pulled in 6.1 million viewers for its premiere episode during its first week of viewing. An episode of “Fuller House” hit 4.6 million. Those are nice, middle-to-low broadcast network numbers.
This is Netflix’s response to TV Watch concerning Nielsen's efforts: "The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix."
But what are we comparing? Full on-demand per episode access of TV programming (Netflix) in a given week versus live airings plus three or seven days of time-shifted viewing (TV networks).
Is that the same thing? And what value can you give, say to “engagement” of those Netflix viewers, who are spending around $10 a month, versus watching a similar show on an ad-supported network?
Apples and oranges. And in this new media world, there are different metrics and results analyzing various consumer interactions of media channels.
In the past, NBCUniversal and others tried to calculate Netflix programming viewership — all to remove the mystery and hype of what Netflix has become for many TV consumers and business executives. It hasn’t worked. Netflix continued to build its business.
For its part, Netflix knows exactly how many times its shows have been streamed — and when — from its own server.
By contrast, a broadcast network or cable network has never had this ability via traditional TV transmission.
And when Nielsen gets it wrong — especially with difficult-to-measure younger-skewing networks, like MTV or Nickelodeon, senior TV executives complain.
Netflix still doesn’t know specific demographics, exactly who is in the room during viewing. It probably has research to make good guesses. What about guessing Nielsen's efforts to measure Netflix? Maybe Netflix believes that's a house of cards.