February 22, 2024


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Viewing data on Netflix shows a wide gap between streaming and the real world

Viewing data on Netflix shows a wide gap between streaming and the real world

Stop me if you’ve heard this. You’re at a holiday gathering and an offline family member starts chatting about the show Yellowstone. Very soon after, a family member came online in a state of confusion and asked either what the show was or why they kept hearing about it when no one they knew seemed to be watching it.

But that may not be the case Yellowstone. Maybe it is La Reina del Sur, or Glory, Or maybe her Jenny and Georgia. What these three shows have in common is that they’re some of the most-watched shows on Netflix between January and June 2023, and if you haven’t heard of them, it’s probably because you’re part of the growing gap between people who stream these shows. Talk about the Internet and things everyone is already watching.

These new Netflix numbers come from One of the most detailed reports Netflix has ever dropped publicly. It shows a rough estimate of the number of hours a season of a show or movie was watched, when that content premiered, and whether that content is available globally (and thus may have a larger international audience). You can scroll through the entire report here -That’s what I’ve been doing for the past few days. Sometimes I was just looking to see if the show I liked was better or worse than about 18,213 other pieces of content on the list, and other times I was laughing at the winners and losers. (I personally think this is hysterical White chicks It was broadcast for more than 100 hours Better Call Saul Season 3.)

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I was just thinking about how different this list is from what a lot of people expected. When you talk to people online, the Netflix shows they talk about are usually very rooted in genre (the magician, Weird things) or in a very specific type of prestige television (the crown). But these shows don’t always have the legs you’d expect. the crownSeason 5 premiered in November 2022 and came in at 153. Since numbers from 2022 are not available, we can’t say how much of a drop it had from release until January 2023, but it’s safe to say it was a much bigger one than Wednesdaywhich premiered around the same time and was in the top 10 most-watched shows on Netflix.

the magicianMeanwhile, the third season of the series released on June 29 and barely managed to crack the top 550 most-watched shows list. But when you compare his previous seasons how good they were Jenny and GeorgiaAs in the previous season, there was no contest to show that more people were willing to play catch-up. Although it was released in 2021, the first season of the series Jenny and Georgia It was solid in the top 10 alongside its new season that premiered in January and finished second overall. the magicianThe previous seasons came for 165 and 227, respectively.

All this suggests so Jenny and Georgia It’s part of a whole bunch of things that a lot of people watch but maybe don’t post about on Threads or use to build a following on TikTok.

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And the confusion and bewilderment I saw the most Jenny and GeorgiaIts popularity reminded me of similar conversations in the 1990s where Usenet boards would explode with activity after a new episode of The X-Files or buffy the vampire slayer, Then people will be shocked when it’s Monday Night Football and… er It was at the top of the Nielsen charts released the following week. They forget that their noisy community is actually much smaller than the community of people who just watch things and don’t talk about them afterwards.

A lot of people might talk about it the magician online, but far fewer people were actually watching it.
Photo: Netflix/Susan Allnott

And it’s easy for people to forget that this is how TV ratings have always worked — with quiet audience-driven shows dominating the chart. For years, streaming has been a black box of curated numbers designed to promote shows that streaming services want you to talk about and then subscribe to watch yourself, rather than the less interesting stuff that many people spend their days quietly watching and never discuss. It’s one of the big reasons why many critics and analysts have been so frustrated with the black box method. They knew this was happening, and it was difficult to measure externally when people watching the shows wanted to Jenny and Georgia They didn’t immediately flock to an easily traceable platform to talk about it.

But in the past year things have changed radically, and sudden data dumps like the one shared by Netflix will happen more often. First, because streaming services are now contractually obligated to share viewership metrics with the actors and writers who make their content. Unions in Hollywood scored big during strikes over the summer and fall, and will now have access to all the viewing numbers services like Netflix have been reluctant to share.

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Secondly, the days of 0% interest are over, where a streaming service can throw everything at the wall to see what sticks. Netflix and its competitors now rely heavily on their fast-growing advertising business — which means they need fewer expensive shows that get a lot of buzz (and often have significant viewership declines) and more affordable shows that appeal to those casual, quiet viewers who will sit back. in the Tide commercial to see what happens next.

And because the advertising business has become so fast for these companies, that means, again, that these numbers are going to start getting bigger. Advertisers need real metrics to understand where they should place their ads.

And I think that means, in the coming years, the way we talk about all these streaming shows is going to change as well. Jenny and Georgia It will probably stop being the show you had to desperately Google when you started reading this article and start sitting in the same place in your mind NCIS or Gray’s Anatomy. And that’s a good place to be, because we didn’t know it, but it was already there from the beginning.