Netflix Creates New 2-Minute Viewing Standard

Netflix has issued a new viewing definition: Anything over two minutes of watching something on its platform -- a TV show or a movie -- counts as a household view.

It doesn’t matter whether you are watching a three-hour-plus movie, such as “The Irishman,” or a 23-minute TV broadcast comedy rerun of ‘The Good Place.” Just two minutes. Then you can watch your favorite “Wheel of Fortune” episode.

Previously, Netflix counted viewing as a subscribing household watching 70% of a TV show or movie. What does this new measure mean for Netflix? Higher numbers, of course.

“The new metric is about 35% higher on average than the prior metric,” according to Netflix. “For example, 45 million member households chose to watch ‘Our Planet’ under the new metric versus 33 million under the prior metric.”



That’s good news? Well, probably for the show's producers and their next effort in selling or creating a new program for Netflix.

Netflix says the analysis is similar “to the BBC iPlayer in their rankings, based on ‘requests’ for the title, ‘most popular’ articles on The New York Times.

In the U.S., this new metric doesn’t help in measuring, or comparing, TV and movies usage against other longtime existing metrics, such as Nielsen’s average minute ratings of an entire TV program or movie on a traditional TV network.

Since it doesn’t sell advertising, Netflix continues to play by its own rules. It doesn’t really care about program performance. 

What it does want to know is the current value of a show for new Netflix customers -- all to gauge what programming content/genre direction it should go in.

That -- we guess -- is where the new metric comes in -- those two minutes plus viewing. It’s all about viewers “intent” to watch. The confusing part is that Netflix seemingly intends to release some of this data in the future.

While this is probably more for business reasons (noted above), consumers will also see it. Why? Video consumers seek TV shows and movies that not only interest them, but are considered popular.

Will they learn that from the new measurement? Seems a bit fuzzy. What if viewers simple abandoned a show after two minutes? How is that counted? Further, will Netflix regularly release viewing for all its top shows on a weekly basis, whether produced in-house or licensed from other producers?

Those questions are not being asked, nor are results offered. You know why: Netflix doesn't have to.

3 comments about "Netflix Creates New 2-Minute Viewing Standard".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 23, 2020 at 9:26 a.m.

    Wayne, it's not a new measurement, it's merely a way to tabulate the data so it vastly inflates the audience talllies for Netflix content---by ignoring the amount of time subscribers devote to the programming. If the TV folks did the same thing they would increase their "audiences" by 30-40%---except no advertiser would be silly enough to accept such data when buying ad time.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research replied, January 23, 2020 at 2:21 p.m.

    Beat me to it Ed.

    It's a reach figure and not an average audience figure.  I wonder if it is 2 continuous minutes or 2 cumulative minutes.   I also wonder if they mean in a single viewing session or cumulative.

    Finally, I wonder why they would make a retrograde change ... hmmmm.

  3. Tom Tyler from GCTVTexas, January 24, 2020 at 2:41 p.m.

    LOLOLOL! Netflix is such an incredible fraud!
    A two-minute view means the customer doesn't like the idiotic program, and is looking for something better to watch!

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