Streaming giant Netflix sent a letter to its shareholders today in which it explained that it was changing how it measured ratings and how the new method would work. Funny aside, I worked with a guy in 1999 who SWORE by Netflix and I was convinced that it would fail because someone would swipe the DVD’s out of your mailbox. And even though it is 21 goddamned years later and they are giant I STILL bet some jerks stole those DVD’s. They MUST have!
Anyway, this is what they told people about how they were measuring ratings:
As we’ve expanded our original content, we’ve been working on how to best share content highlights that demonstrate popularity, Given that we now have titles with widely varying lengths – from short episodes (e.g. Special at around 15 minutes) to long films (e.g. The Highwaymen at 132 minutes), we believe that reporting households viewing a title based on 70% of a single episode of a series or of an entire film, which we have been doing, makes less sense. We are now reporting on households (accounts) that chose to watch a given title.
OK, so then instead of counting it at 70% you are counting people who watch a title. So they have to watch the whole thing. Makes sense. Wait, you say there’s more?
Under the new system, short and long titles are treated equally, leveling the playing field for all types of our content including interactive content, which has no fixed length. The new metric is about 35% higher on average than the prior metric. For example, 45m member households chose to watch Our Planet under the new metric vs. 33m under the prior metric.
So it was 33 million when they watched at least 70% and now it is 45 million which means there are 12 million who watched less than 70%. But how much less? And why is that better? And don’t try to bamboozle us with the short feature thing. This is a measure of whether or not content is good, not how much time you have on your hands. If you watch a full length feature for 10 minutes, say it sucks and then flip to something else, is that a “view”?
Or say you found out from some site when the boob scenes were in The Witcher and just watched those, does it count for viewing the whole series? And, speaking of series’ I got sick of this season of You after 3 episodes. But I watched the entirety of the first three. So does that mean you count me as watching You? It shouldn’t. Seriously, it shouldn’t. What if you fall asleep and have to go back to see what you missed? Does that count as two? Get it together! We need answers!
If you watch 70% of something then turn it off, that is on you. But if you bail right at the beginning, like, one minute into a short film, it should NOT count. You are full of it, Netflix. You did bad and you should feel bad.