It's been reported that NBC is hiring a company to look deeper into Netflix's series ratings, seeking information about views of television shows. Netflix currently doesn't publicly share how they rate television shows, and the NBC network is not happy about the privacy. NBC wants to know the competition it has between other cable and private networks, especially when their own ratings are so exposed and reported upon.
Variety writer, Cynthia Littleton said
the issue is that "Alan Wurtzel, NBCU president of research and media development, presented ratings estimates for a handful of SVOD shows in an effort to give reporters a sense of the audience that Netflix and Amazon draw."
As part of what Wurtzel called a “Netflix reality check,” he revealed Netflix and Amazon ratings as calculated by Symphony, a tech firm that Variety explains “measures TV viewing using audio content recognition technology — software loaded on to users phones that tracks viewership by capturing the soundtrack of the program. The company has a sample size of about 15,000 at present."
Ratings are separated by demographics, but why are they so important? Viewer counts can ultimately determine if a show receives another season. Nielsen is currently the major company tracking television ratings for cable programming.
Wurtzel shared that, "Nielsen at present measures 1,231 TV channels. The average TV household receives 201 channels, but only watches 16 regularly. In 2008, the average household received 129 channels and watched 17 regularly." That tells him that most viewers “engage in a manageable amount of viewing.” But for programmers, “the challenge is that everybody’s menu (of favored channels) is very different.”
With Nielsen determining who and how many people watch a show, some will be canceled, but Netflix isn't currently in that mix. What do you think? Should Netflix have to report or be tracked like everyone else? Are other studios just intimidated?
Maybe they should take a cue from Netflix and just chill.