Image: Netflix

The streaming service arena expanded considerably throughout 2018 and 2019. This in turn has created increased competition for Netflix. Most services now have a hit show or movie under their belt and tracking viewership is essential for investors. Netflix has just published their Q4 earnings report which also explains how they’ve changed their metric for tracking viewership.

Their original unit of measure was based on 70% of a show, or film, being watched. The new approach is being called a “Choose to watch” model. It counts viewership as when someone chooses to watch a show for at least two minutes. The idea is that at that two minutes the choice to watch was intentional. Netflix’s new reporting method is measuring roughly 35% higher viewership than the previous one. Using The Witcher as a new example they reported that over 76 million people clicked on the new show to watch.

Despite newly added competition from Disney +, CBS All access, Apple TV+, and DC Streaming, they did add 28 million new subscribers. New membership did, however, slow down in U.S. In the U.S. new subscriber numbers for Q4 dropped from over 1.5 million to just under 550 thousand from the previous year.

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Peter Brosdahl

As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my...

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  1. Do you have any idea how often I’ll get 20 minutes into watching something on Netflix to abandon it and never log into it again?

    1. Same. I think a 50% watch would be far more accurate.

      They obviously aren’t going for accuracy but a slightly less obvious way of inflating their numbers for investors. 5 years ago this probably would have worked better but their shows have gone downhill so hard in the last few years that, even if I intentionally click on a show to watch, odds are it’ll be so bad I’ll stop watching halfway through.

      That being said if viewership for an entire series is tracked on a per episode basis, even if their numbers for the first episode are inflated it’ll still show a major drop going into the second and so on. If the entire series s based on how many people watch the first two minutes of the first episode then these numbers are completely useless.

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