New streaming services -- especially those coming from traditional media companies that have released Nielsen viewing data for decades -- might think differently than Netflix.
We haven’t heard much from those high-profile streaming services that launched about a month and a half ago: Apple TV+ and Disney+. But analysts expect more information will be released on views and unique visitors, if not currency-driven average minute viewership.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment, responsible for the upcoming HBO Max, believes there will be more transparency of data going forward. At the outset, however, the focus will be signing users up.
“It's going to be about the number of subscribers before it is about views ... We are heading toward more transparency because the guilds are going to require it, and we have to figure this out.”
Labor unions for producers, directors and talent will demand viewing and other data to determine future deal-making for TV shows and movies. This also includes after-market license sales of episodes, once their initial original airing on streaming/traditional platforms.
If Greenblatts’ assertion is correct, new union rules will demand streamers provide viewing and other data, if not publicly, then privately.
For sometime now, Neflix has set a precedent in declining to offer regularly released viewing data of its TV shows and movies. That said, for the last two years, Netflix has touted viewing data of big theatrically-focused movies, especially those award-seeking films: “Roma” last year and “The Irishman” this year.
But overall, the streaming platform has declined to offer much information with its logic; it is not an ad-supported service/network. That may be old-school thinking. If anything, marketers and others may be demanding more data from streamers -- especially in the age of fractionalizing media. This may include not only asking for data from ad-supported services, but whatever ad-free options are available from those same companies.
HBO Max, set to launch next spring, will be initially focused as a subscription-based, ad-free service. But later on, it will also have an ad-supported option.
NBCUniversal’s upcoming Peacock, also starting early next year, looks to have three options next year, according to reports -- an ad-free, subscription fee ($10 a month); a limited ad-supported option ($5/month); and full advertising-support version (free). Greenblatt -- who formerly worked at NBCUniversal, and had premium streaming plans for the company as far back at 2015 -- might be on to something.
If producers and talent get some of this data, advertisers and marketers will demand the same from media owners. Which side then gets the upper hand? Perhaps whoever needs it-- less.