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Netflix viewing metric shows huge flaw in latest streaming numbers

Netflix revealed statistics about its most-viewed TV shows and movies in Q4 of 2019, but these streaming numbers highlighted a huge flaw in data collection.

As The Hollywood Reporter reported, Netflix’s original series The Witcher earned 76 million household views through four weeks, while the Michael Bay film 6 Underground garnered 83 million member views.

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Those numbers are astronomical. Great for Netflix, right? Well, there’s more than meets the eye.

CHECK OUT: Netflix projected to spend $26 billion on content yearly by 2028

Netflix streaming numbers are deceiving

As THR indicated in the report, Netflix used to measure viewership by someone watching either 70 percent of an episode or 70 percent of a movie. That standard has drastically shifted.

Now, Netflix requires only two minutes of viewing time to count in official data. That’s two minutes for an episode, or two minutes for a movie.

Think about that. A movie or TV series trailer is longer than two minutes more often than not. That’d be like collecting the data from a YouTube trailer and counting it towards viewership.

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It’s rather easy to solve this problem, of course. Netflix simply swung too far the other way when it came to counting streaming numbers. Why such a massive jump from 70 percent to two minutes? There’s got to be a happy medium there somewhere!

CHECK OUT: The Witcher review: Netflix has its Game of Thrones

Let’s hope this press helps “The Witcher”

We all know what we’re getting when signing up for a Michael Bay film. I can’t blame subscribers’ morbid curiosity for flicking on 6 Underground for a couple minutes. After all, Ryan Reynolds stars, and he can throw in some good meta one-liners to keep things interesting enough.

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But in terms of The Witcher, well, that’s a series that’s picking up serious steam. Henry Cavill stars in the Game of Thrones-esque fantasy saga, which does a lot of world building, time jumping and genre bending in a packed first season.

The longer viewers watch The Witcher, though, the more they seem won over. That’s why it’s vital not to be entirely skeptical of Netflix’s data, despite the obvious flaws in its metrics.

Rotten Tomatoes reviews for the show hovered in the 50s upon initial release. As of this writing, The Witcher has ascended to an approaching-Certified-Fresh 66% — with a 92% audience score!

Perhaps a more detailed breakdown of timed views would be useful to see what Netflix subscribers really like. Even adjusting the viewing requirement to 30 percent or something like that could be helpful.

Otherwise, streaming numbers will continue to be skewed, and send mixed messages about which programs are working. I mean, what if The OA were measured under the new metric? Could we have gotten a third season of one of the best TV shows Netflix ever made? Guess we’ll never know!

CHECK OUT: Best streaming shows of 2019

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