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Netflix to Change to ‘Hours Watched’ as Measure of Popularity

Michael King

As Netflix released its Q3 2021 earnings numbers today, the streamer said that it would shift the way it reports engagement data later this year. Netflix will share a title’s “hours viewed” as opposed to the number of accounts that watched it.

“We think engagement as measured by hours viewed is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of our titles and member satisfaction,” the streamer said in its Q3 earnings letter. “We will start to release title metrics more regularly outside of our earnings report so our members and the industry can better measure success in the streaming world.”

Based on both reporting methods, the top series for the streamer is the period drama Bridgerton, but the numbers change radically beyond first place. Under the current reporting method, Lupin Part 1, The Witcher Season 1, Sex/Life Season 1, and Stranger Things 3 round out the top five.

However, under the new reporting methodology, the shows in the 2nd through 5th spots shift dramatically. Money Heist Part 4, Stranger Things 3, The Witcher Season 1, and 13 Reasons Why Season 2 round out the top 5.

Similar changes can be seen with the streamer’s movie titles, with Extraction, Bird Box, Spenser Confidential, 6 Underground, and Murder Mystery making up the top 5 under the older methodology. Under the newer reporting methods, the streamer indicates the top 5 titles as Bird Box, Extraction, The Irishman, The Kissing Booth 2, and 6 Underground.

How this will affect Netflix as well as the remainder of the industry going forward remains to be seen.

The streamer added 4.38 million subscribers during Q3 for a total of 213 million overall. That number is up 9% over the same quarter last year, when it had just over 195 million subscribers.

The company reported more than half of its growth came from the Asia-Pacific region with 2.2 million net additions. The US-Canada and LATAM regions exhibited slower growth due to higher existing penetration. Netflix added just 73,000 US-Canada subscribers in the quarter.

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