What Counts as a Streaming Hit? A Start-Up May Have Answers


Nielsen has umpired tv’s winners and losers for the reason that medium was new. Who received the West Coast? Who misplaced in late night time? For many years, the leisure trade has relied on the rankings large to measure the worth of every little thing from “All in the Family” to “Young Sheldon.”

But how do you show a present’s price within the age of streaming?

A little-known start-up, Parrot Analytics, says it has give you a metric that may measure what a program means to a streamer like Netflix. It not solely counts viewers however calculates their enthusiasm. From there, Parrot says, it may anticipate what issues most to a streaming community: what number of subscribers a present is more likely to entice.

Wared Seger, the chief govt, mentioned the corporate was constructed on the concept that a measurement system should keep in mind the momentous change in viewing habits. “We could each be watching different shows, on different platforms, at different times,” Mr. Seger, 32, mentioned. “You need a new standard.”

Parrot tracks what Mr. Seger calls “demand expressions” — a twitchy metric he helped devise that, he mentioned, takes into consideration a host of “signals” throughout the web. It elements in Google search phrases for a collection or movie, as effectively as Facebook likes, pirated downloads and Wikipedia visitors to find out its recognition.

“The Witcher,” a fantasy collection that Netflix launched in December, generated 57 occasions the common demand for all reveals measured by Parrot from January to April, making it one in all Netflix’s greatest hits. Netflix confirmed Parrot’s interpretation, saying “The Witcher” was its “biggest Season 1 TV series ever.”

Netflix modified the rhythms — and economics — of house viewing. With 183 million subscribers worldwide, it has no reside programming, no commercials, no prime time. And not like community TV, Netflix doesn’t make more cash when viewers watch extra hours of programming. Its income rises when folks enroll.

Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max have designed their methods to comparable ends. (Hulu sells advertising but requires customers to pay a monthly fee.) A streaming show’s success depends less on how many people are watching than on how many subscribers it can deliver.

Parrot aims to measure the ability of a show or film to grab a viewer’s attention — an increasingly scarce commodity — now that content is endlessly expanding, Mr. Seger said. That’s why the company rates shows in relation to overall demand, rather than use an absolute figure like a ratings point.

Mr. Seger said the cancellation of one of his favorite shows, “Boston Legal,” in 2008 inspired him to start Parrot five years later. After analyzing the two longest-running streamers, Netflix and Hulu, he found a close correlation between “demand expressions” and the number of new subscribers they have taken on, he said. For Netflix, Parrot has captured subscriber growth within 3 percent of the actual total. For Hulu, it was within 1 percent.

“When the two happen with high correlation, we get to uncover possible hidden acquisition and retention mechanisms that are useful to make investment and business decisions,” Mr. Seger said.

Nielsen ratings measure the number of viewers for a show, and the broadcast networks still rely on the service to set ad rates and determine the worth of their programming. In recent years, Nielsen has started using audio recognition software to measure the audiences for streaming programs. Netflix has sometimes disputed that data.

In a statement, a Nielsen executive said the company’s clients “place more value in who is actually viewing streaming content,” adding that “subscriber counts paint an incomplete picture.”

Original programming tends to attract new subscribers, according to Mr. Seger. That means “The Witcher” is more valuable to a platform than “Friends,” the enduring sitcom that recently moved its streaming home to HBO Max from Netflix. New shows bring in new customers; old shows, with their potential for comfort viewing, keep subscribers from leaving, Mr. Seger said.

Parrot says it also offers metrics to quantify a show’s “rate of decay,” or shelf life, as well as its “travelability,” its potential appeal in various regions.

People in the entertainment industry have complained about Netflix’s turbid offerings of data for the shows it streams. The company gives producers viewership figures after the first seven days and once again after 28 days. But producers who come out of the traditional TV and movie business are accustomed to hour-to-hour ratings data and daily box office counts.

3. “The 100” (The CW, Netflix): 71 times

4. “Stranger Things” (Netflix): 66 times

5. “Rick and Morty” (Adult Swim, HBO Max): 65 times

6. “The Walking Dead” (AMC, Netflix): 63 times

7. “Dark” (Netflix): 61 times

8. “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC, Netflix, Hulu): 60 times

9. “The Flash” (The CW, Netflix): 60 times

10. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox, Hulu): 59 times



Source link Nytimes.com

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