Netflix's 'Bird Box' Viewing Stats Are Eye-Opening

When in a box -- bird or otherwise -- who do you believe -- Netflix or Nielsen?

For the first seven viewing days of Netflix's movie “Bird Box,” Nielsen says it pulled in 26 million viewers when it comes to looking at the average minute viewing, persons two years and older, unduplicated reach.

For its part, Netflix says the movie pulled in 45 million of its “accounts,” those who watched at least 70% of the movie. But actual number of viewers? Hmmm... one, two, three per account? Netflix didn’t go that far.

More fuzziness: Netflix didn’t go into detail about those accounts. Just U.S., some international, or its entire global subscribers? Netflix has U.S. 57.4 million subscribers and 72.7 million international accounts.

Nielsen offers an estimate of U.S. viewing by surveying its sample base of nearly 50,000 homes, over 118,000 people, as well as other set-top boxes from TV providers.



Nielsen says after its first 10 days, "Bird Box" -- pushed by word-of-mouth and plenty of memes on Twitter and other social-media platforms -- reached nearly 4 million viewers per day.

Netflix hasn’t released any 10-day data so far. But don’t get your hopes up. That “Bird Box” tweet was rare for Netflix. It has been notoriously reluctant to release any data which typically comes from its own internal digital platform systems.

But Nielsen has no problem in offering more specifics: Viewers of “Bird Box” were 57% was female, 43% male, with the highest concentration of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34 -- 36%.

A year ago -- also in December -- Netflix released its first big movie “Bright,” posting 20 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

Seems like a good start for digital TV analysis. Comparisons to other digital TV delivered content -- at Netflix or otherwise -- would also be good to know. Right now, much of this data seems to reveal benchmarks against other Netflix content.

Additionally, big TV/movie studios may also be interested -- those who might license content to the big subscription video platform -- or in a more competitive way -- start their own subscription services.

For Netflix, much of this popularity could be used for consumer promotion. Additionally, it scores with independent producers/directors looking for finance and distribution support for future projects on Netflix.

Some 26 million TV-based U.S. viewers over seven days for  TV programming content? That’s not bad.

Say what you want about third-party TV metrics companies -- especially those that rely on different research methods -- more completeness is need. Otherwise, you are flying blind.

1 comment about "Netflix's 'Bird Box' Viewing Stats Are Eye-Opening".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 9, 2019 at 5:12 p.m.

    Wayne, the Nielsen figure is probably some sort of "total audience" projection, perhaps counting those who "watched" for a given number of minutes---say 6 minutes or more. Maybe Nielsen can clarify. 

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