Netflix, which has long been criticised for its lack of transparency regarding how films and shows perform on their platform, will start publishing an “in-depth” analysis of what its subscribers watch twice a year.
Netflix released its first report on Tuesday. It contained viewer data for more than 18,000 titles. This represents a total of almost 100bn viewing hours. The night agent,a thriller political, was the show that Netflix watched the most in the first half 2023. It had 812mn total hours.
Ted Sarandos acknowledged Tuesday that Netflix’s “lack data and lack transparency” created an “environment” of mistrust in Hollywood.
Transparency in streaming services dominated the Hollywood strikes of this year. The writers and actors wanted better royalties for their shows that performed well on streaming platforms, just like they did on traditional TV networks.
In order to make success-based payments, more information is needed about the performance metrics of streaming services. Netflix, according to Hollywood agents and unions, has kept this information under tight lock and key – unlike Nielsen ratings of traditional television.
Sarandos stated that the new data release was not driven by strikes, but should create a “better environment for [Hollywood] Guilds, producers, creators, and the press”.
He said that the information that is being released “is data that we use for running the business — This is the exact pool of data we’re sharing”.
Jeremy Zimmer, the chief executive officer of UTA’s talent agency, has long argued that Netflix and other streaming services would need to become more transparent. This would be better for actors, writers and producers.
Netflix waited until the benefits outweighed the liabilities before releasing this data. Nevertheless, it is great that it is available to our clients. It will allow us to add more value to their behalf.”
Netflix launched a advertising version last year, but the data release was not intended to help advertisers target audiences. Sarandos explained that they use third-party reports because it is how advertisers traditionally verify viewing in order to pay.
Brian Wieser of Madison and Wall advertising consultancy said that the new data was “not very useful from an advertiser’s perspective.”
He said that the information was more valuable to Hollywood as a whole than to advertisers.
Netflix started disclosing information about the performance of its shows in 2021 when it began releasing its Top 10 and Most Popular weekly lists. These data releases were said to be more extensive than those of any other streaming service except YouTube. Now, its disclosures have become much more extensive.
Sarandos claimed that its decision to not release data on viewership was made in order to protect information from potential rivals.
In the beginning, it wasn’t in our best interest to be so transparent. We were just starting out and needed time to learn. We didn’t, however, want to give future competitors a road map.