The Way Netflix Counts Views Is Ridiculous

So I guess this means I watched Zumbo's Just Desserts?


There hasn't been a lot of transparency with how streaming giant Netflix calculates its viewership. Earlier in the month, Netflix revealed it's top watched movies of 2019, so we all got a look at what people who subscribe to the service are watching the most. However, the way the company figured out what counts as a view is a bit confusing.

Originally, if someone watched 70% of any title on the service, that counted as a view. Things have changed now, and a view counts as watching at least two minutes of any given TV show or movie, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. So when Netflix releases a statement saying 83 million people watched the movie 6 Underground, that doesn't necessarily mean 83 million people watched the whole movie, or even half of it. They all watched for at least two minutes, and none of this is verified by a third party.

"This way, short and long titles are treated equally, leveling the playing field for all types of our content including interactive content, which has no fixed length. The new metric is about 35% higher on average than the prior metric," a shareholder letter stated (via THR).

Of course that metric is going to be higher. Two minutes of watch time is less than 2% of Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, a three and a half hour movie. With many movies, two minutes of watch time could simply mean, "You made it through the opening credits." The old 70% measure seems like a much more reputable way to measure how people are watching the streaming service's content.

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