On Stats and Success: How Well is Netflix Doing in the Streaming Service Game?  
Sun, April 18, 2021

On Stats and Success: How Well is Netflix Doing in the Streaming Service Game?  

The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when the words “streaming service” are mentioned is Netflix. On the onset of its rise to the top of the streaming game, Netflix gained credibility and rapport with audiences through the hilarious “Netflix and Chill,” which is still used today / Photo by: scanrail via 123RF

 

The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when the words “streaming service” are mentioned is Netflix. On the onset of its rise to the top of the streaming game, Netflix gained credibility and rapport with audiences through the hilarious “Netflix and Chill,” which is still used today, and the collection of shows that they have, both original and licensed, which cater to so many different people. However, despite Netflix’s apparent dominance, some of their business practices have been called into question. Today, it’s their weird viewership stats and how that relates to the overall success of the company. 

According to the new viewership measures, a “view” can now be only as short as two minutes. This means that if you click on “The Witcher” without any knowledge of what it’s about or what it’s based on and you just want to see what all the fuss is about, just sitting through two minutes of the first episode -- even when you don’t like the rest of it -- will already count as a view. With a metric like that, how can we know for sure if Netflix is truly successful? 

Understanding Netflix Viewership Stats 

According to a report by American media website CNet, Netflix viewership ratings were changed recently when the company decided to test out these new metrics. Those who stumbled upon “The Witcher” or Michael Bay’s “6 Underground” and mistakenly played it in the background are now part of the viewership. 

This led to “The Witcher” having a total of 76 million views on its first four weeks, and “6 Underground” being an instant smash-hit for garnering 83 million views. And yet not a lot of people are talking about “6 Underground” as much as they are talking about “The Witcher.” 

It’s not like Netflix has gotten cold feet over explaining this whole thing, though; they actually have what seems to be a legitimate reason for doing this. According to their statement, Netflix decided on employing this metric last month in an attempt to receive viewership for all titles on the platform equally. 

Before this metric, a “view” for any show, movie, or series would only be counted if people watched at least 70% of the video, which Netflix says is unfair for longer titles that can sometimes pass the two or three-hour mark. 

Be that as it may, it still distorts what is popular on the platform and what is not, considering all titles can have views even if people just go through the opening credits and then leave. In the past, Netflix didn’t even really reveal viewership stats. Now that they are, it appears it might still need some work to get accurate. 

Under the current viewership metric, other shows that have done well are “You” with 54 millon account views, “Klaus” with 40 million views, and the third season of “The Crown,” at 21 million views. 

According to a report by American media website CNet, Netflix viewership ratings were changed recently when the company decided to test out these new metrics / Photo by: scyther5 via 123RF

 

The Streaming Service Race

Metrics aside, how, then, does Netflix compare with other streaming services? 

According to a report by stock market news website Market Watch, regardless of this new viewership metric confusion, the platform still seems to be doing exceedingly well over its peers. Both Apple and Disney+, new competitors in the streaming service world, still lag behind Netflix, though they have increased +0.36% and +0.31% respectively. In terms of subscription demographics, US users sit at the tippy top with 87% of people subscribed to the service. 

Over in Europe, there are 50% to 70% subscribers across developed regions, while their Asia-Pacific user base sits at the very bottom with only 11.8% subscribers. The company does project a little growth in its Asia-Pacific user base in 2020, when it is expected to grow at 14.3%. 

In terms of recognition, Netflix has also risen to the top, probably because of a wide variety of shows available on their platform. They are nominated for 24 Oscars, which is apparently “more than any major Hollywood studio.” 

“No Ad” Netflix 

It seems that Netflix is also remaining true to itself when it comes to the content it provides as Tech Crunch reports that Netflix has declined and probably will continue to decline outside investor pressure to put in ads on the platform. 

According to the tech website, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings talked about this matter Tuesday, saying that they would rather take the road less traveled and continue on without ads on the platform than cut the trip to “easy money.” 

Hastings said he would take Netflix’s simple business model over Facebook, Amazon, or Google’s more online advertising-integrated ones, which he says will hurt what Netflix is truly about: “streaming and customer pleasure.” 

Of course, to make sure that the ultimate goal of “customer pleasure” is achieved, Netflix looks at the performances of their shows, especially the original ones, so they can decide whether to renew it or just cancel it. 

This is another thing that might be harder to measure if they decide to continue with the new metric. Two-minute views of anything doesn’t really make it instantly popular, so what happens if enough people click on something and the metric assumes that it’s a show they can renew? How does Netflix account for clicks that may just be out of curiosity for the viewers and not the actual desire to watch it? 

“Google, and Facebook, and Amazon are tremendously powerful at online advertising because they’re integrating so much data from so many sources. There’s a business cost to that, but that makes the advertising more targeted and effective. So, I think those three are going to get most of the online advertising business,” said Hastings.

This is a valiant effort from Netflix, considering they’re technically saying “no, thank you” to a billion-worth ad revenue if they only added it in on the platform. But Netflix doesn’t really think that matters that much; Hastings even assures audiences and subscribers of Netflix that “When you read speculation that we are moving into selling advertising be confident that this is false.”