Netflix to Start Slowly Sharing More Viewership Data

Streaming giant Netflix has always been secretive about its viewership numbers, especially for original shows and films. However, recent events may have led to a shift in Netflix’s openness.

Many companies have tried to estimate Netflix viewership numbers for a while now.

One of the best known is Nielsen, a company which gathers information and measurement to inform research, insights and data about what people consume, whether it be watching, listening or buying.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nielsen measured a few data points, with interesting results. If Nielsen’s results are accurate, it puts Orange Is the New Black’s fourth season as the most popular cable show after Game of Thrones, as well as other insights.

But, if that’s right, that information is only the barest glimpse into Netflix’s consumer data. More and more data collection companies are trying to get a handle on Netflix’s numbers, to better tailor content and products to consumer wants.

For example, when NBC’s research division tried to estimate popular Netflix shows in January, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, said they were “really remarkably inaccurate.”

As Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff writes, there are three reasons why Netflix won’t be able to keep its ratings a secret forever: Netflix likes to brag, somebody will figure out how to measure it with or without Netflix’s support and Netflix needs to start re-upping deals with production studios, where viewership numbers will be made available to the discussion.

Recently, Sarandos spoke about Netflix’s new transparency initiative, saying that Netflix will soon release “more specific and granular data and reporting” to the public.

While neither Sarandos nor Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO, have mentioned how data will be collected or what type, Hastings has said that the company will instate its transparency initiative quarterly.