Netflix users only have to stream for 2 minutes to add to ratings

Netflix users now only have to watch a show for TWO MINUTES to be counted in its ratings – and the change in how the streaming giant counts ‘views’ has boosted the popularity of its shows by 35%

  • Netflix is changing the way it counts ‘views’ on shows and films on its platform
  • Previously, users would have to stream at least 70 per cent of a show or film for it to be counted as ‘viewed’ 
  • But under a new method, a show will only need to be streamed for two minutes
  • Netflix said that timing is ‘long enough to indicate the choice was intentional… given that we now have titles with widely varying lengths’
  • ‘The new metric is about 35% higher on average than the prior metric,’ Netflix executives said in its quarterly letter to shareholders 
  • The new method is indicative of the popularity of a show, not the viewership, and is similar to the way other media players count views 

Netflix has changed its method for calculating views on shows, with users now only having to stream a title for at least two minutes for it to be counted among the ratings.

In the streaming giant’s quarterly letter to shareholders, it stated that the new metric has boosted its ratings by 35 per cent. 

The new method is indicative of the popularity of a show, not the viewership, and is similar to the way other media players count views. 

‘Given that we now have titles with widely varying lengths – we believe that reporting households viewing a title based on 70 per cent of a single episode of a series or of an entire film, which we have been doing, makes less sense.’ 

‘The new metric is about 35 per cent higher on average than the prior metric,’ Netflix executives said in its quarterly letter to shareholders. 

‘For example, 45 million member households chose to watch ‘Our Planet’ under the new metric versus 33 million under the prior metric.’ 

Netflix has changed its method for calculating views on shows, with users now only having to stream a title for at least two minutes for it to be counted among the ratings 

Netflix said in its quarterly letter to shareholders that under the new method, 45 million member households chose to watch ‘Our Planet’, which is narrated by David Attenborough (above) in comparison to 33 million member households counted under the previous metric 

Netflix said the new methodology is similar to the BBC iPlayer in their rankings based on ‘requests’ for the title, and the way the New York Times counts its ‘most popular’ articles – which includes those who open articles – as well as YouTube view counts.  

‘This way, 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 changes enabled Netflix to report that it is holding its ground against competitors in the streaming wars, passing its first big test since AppleTV+ and Disney launched rival services.  

Netflix has strung together a gamut of well-received movies and shows over the last year. Those includes the fantasy show ‘The Witcher’ and Oscar nominees ‘The Irishman’ and ‘Marriage Story.’

Netflix also reported Google search trends that showed people searching more often for ‘The Witcher’ compared to competing shows including ‘The Mandalorian,’ ‘The Morning Show’ and ‘Jack Ryan,’ from Disney, Apple and Amazon, respectively.

‘The Witcher,’ debuted in the fourth quarter but Netflix reported it was its ‘biggest series one TV series ever,’ adding ’76 million member households chose to watch this action-packed fantasy’. 

However, the new measurements mean viewers wouldn’t even have to play the entire first scene – which lasts two minutes and 15 seconds – for it to contribute to the impressive figures. 

The new measurements mean viewers wouldn’t even have to play the entire first scene of The Witcher – which lasts two minutes and 15 seconds – for it to contribute to the impressive figures

In an earnings call on Tuesday, the company says it added 8.8 million worldwide subscribers to hit 167 million during the fourth quarter, surpassing expectations.

Previously, Netflix says it expected to add 7.6 million subscribers, and analysts thought the service would fare even better.

The increase pales slightly next to the 8.9 million subscribers the service added in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The global television streaming giant beat expectations with a profit of $587 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 as revenue rose 31 percent from a year ago to $5.5 billion. 

But growth in North America was below forecasts with 550,000 new members, including 420,000 in the United States. 

After-hours trading showed Netflix shares in a narrow range, dipping slightly and then rising about 2.2 percent. 

Viewing figures are helpful in selling to advertisers, but Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings denied they plan on introducing ads, saying the company is not interested in battling with Amazon, Facebook and Google in that market.

‘We are really focused on just making our members happy,’ Hastings said.

‘We want to be the safe respite where you can enjoy, be stimulated, have fun and relax with none of the controversy around exploiting users with advertising.’

Netflix said it is similar to how YouTube and BBC iPlayer measures popularity and said Disney+ is more of a threat to traditional cable television services than Netflix

Netflix reported Google search trends that showed people searching more often for ‘The Witcher’ compared to competing shows including ‘The Mandalorian’ by Disney+ (pictured)

Meanwhile, Netflix has scaled back its outlook for early 2020 and is preparing for a tougher competitive landscape, with nascent services such as Apple TV+, Disney+ and soon-to-launch rivals such as NBC’s Peacock now competing for viewers.

Netflix said it expects to add around seven million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, well below the level logged in a record-setting quarter a year ago.

‘We have seen some elevated churn in the US from combination of pricing and competition,’ chief financial officer Spence Neumann said during an earnings interview.

‘We anticipate that competition to roll out globally throughout the year, so we are trying to be prudent thinking about the impact throughout the business.’

Netflix has strung together a gamut of well-received movies over the last year, including ‘Marriage Story’ starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said it doesn’t plan on introducing ads: ‘We’ve had the same strategy basically for 20 years — please our members and they help us grow’

‘We’ve had the same strategy basically for 20 years — please our members and they help us grow,’ Hastings said in an earnings interview.

‘In the next decade, expect to use the great resources we have to do even better.’

The California-based company is strong in many global markets outside of its stronger competition in the US, having bolstered its lineup of international shows.

Hastings considered Disney+ more of a threat to traditional cable television services than Netflix.

‘Disney is going to be a global service quite quickly, but there are many global services,’ Hastings said.

‘We compete a lot for viewing with YouTube, and viewing per member is up — that is all coming from linear TV.’

MOST POPULAR ON NETFLIX 2019 

MOST POPULAR RELEASES

The Murder Mystery movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler was the most popular release last year

1. Murder Mystery

2. Stranger Things 3

3. 6 Underground

4. The Incredibles 2

5. The Irishman

6. The Witcher

7. Triple Frontier

8. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

9. The Umbrella Academy

10. The Highwaymen

MOST POPULAR TV SERIES RELEASES 

Stranger Things 3 was the most popular TV series on Netflix of 2019 

1. Stranger Things 3

2. The Witcher

3. The Umbrella Academy

4. Dead to Me

5. You: Season 2

6. When They See Us

7. Unbelievable

8. Sex Education

9. 13 Reasons Why

10. Raising Dion

MOST POPULAR MOVIE RELEASES 

6 Underground starring Ryan Reynolds was the second most popular movie release

1. Murder Mystery

2. 6 Underground

3. The Incredibles 2

4. The Irishman

5. Triple Frontier

6. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

7. The Highwaymen

8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

9. Wreck-It Ralph 2

10. Secret Obsession

 

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