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Measuring SVOD content performance

Netflix revealed how it measures the success of titles on its service. Meanwhile, Nielsen extended its SVOD Rating service to cover Amazon Prime Video. Slowly, content creators are getting more options to judge the performance of their movies and shows on top SVOD services.

How Netflix measures a show’s success

The Verge reported on a letter Netflix sent to a UK Parliamentary committee clarifying how it measures a successful show. The UK, like other European countries, is working to ensure that UK produced content is fairly represented in International SVOD services. The committee wants to ensure UK shows are given a fair chance at success.

In the letter, Netflix states it tracks three parameters about the shows and movies available on the service:

  • Starters – the number of households that watch two minutes of a film or one episode of series
  • Completers – the number of homes that watch 90% of a film or complete season of a show
  • Watchers – the number of households that watch 70% of a film or single episode of a series.

Each parameter is given for the first seven days the item is available on Netflix, and for the initial 28 days.

Content creators are given the Starters and Completers data and sometimes given the Watchers numbers. However, Netflix uses the Watchers data on those rare occasions it reports on viewing performance. For example, when Netflix says that 40 million people watched the latest season of Stranger Things, it means that 40 million people watched 70% or more of single episode.

Ted Sarandos, Head of Content for Netflix, says the company plans to keep content creators better informed on the performance of their shows and movies:

“I think it’s important for artists to understand, to have the audience also understand the size of the reach of their work. So that’s why you’ll see us ramping up a little bit more and more and giving out — sharing a little more of that information.”

Nielsen adds Amazon Prime Video to SVOD monitoring

Nielsen says it has added Amazon Prime Video to its SVOD Ratings solution. Content providers will be able to see ratings for their content on the service. Nielsen originally started its SVOD Ratings two years ago to Netflix content performance for clients. It promised to add Amazon Prime Video in 2018. Measurement is limited to the U.S. and through some connected TVs.

Nielsen gave a flavor for the Amazon ratings. It says that the Prime Video show The Boys averaged 4.1 million viewers per episode, and the first episode garnered just over 6 million viewers. Within the first ten days, the show reached 8 million viewers across all episodes.

Though Nielsen misses mobile and PC viewing, most of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video viewing takes place through the television. Variety reported that Nielsen’s Netflix ratings were generally thought to be accurate.

Content providers will certainly welcome better performance data from Netflix. After all, the company has perfect knowledge of how titles do on its service, and sharing more with content creators has many benefits to them. However, there is still a place of Nielsen’s data. Not only does it give an independent view of performance on SVOD, but also it pulls together related data from other distribution mechanisms, like broadcast TV and on-demand services.

Why it matters

Content creators had few mechanisms to understand how their shows and movies perform on the SVOD services they license too.

Netflix has three parameters it uses to judge performance and promises to give creators more information on how their content performs.

Nielsen now tracks Netflix and Amazon Prime Video with its SVOD Ratings.


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