Netflix is looking to share more details on its viewership numbers and be more transparent in the future. The company, in its latest earnings call, has confirmed that it will slowly and steadily move to be more transparent and share viewership data of films and shows. Netflix was rather tight-lipped about its numbers until very recently, and this secretive behaviour led to many questions from investors. In its first quarterly earnings report, Netflix also revealed viewership numbers of Triple Frontier, The Umbrella Academy, and The Highwaymen.
Sarandos detailed on this gradual transparency plan during the most recent investor call. He said that the company will start releasing granular data to different groups soon – first to producers, then to subscribers, and later to the press. CEO Reed Hastings said that Netflix will lean into being more transparent “quarter by quarter.” There's no clarity on how Netflix plans to disseminate the large pool of data. It's still unclear if only original shows and films' viewership data will be released, or the dataset will include all content.
Netflix reportedly decided to change its policy after investors began questioning the company's expenses on streaming rights of select TV series. The company raised many eyebrows after it spent over $100 million for the 2019 streaming rights for the TV show Friends. In a January earning calls, Sarandos explained, “I would look at it like these are less financial metrics as they are cultural metrics. I think it's important for artists to understand, to have the audience also understand the size of the reach of their work. So that's why you'll see us ramping up a little bit more and more and giving out — sharing a little more of that information.”
Netflix considers a film as viewed if members watch at least 70 percent of it. When it comes to a TV show, it is considered as viewed if at least 70 percent of a single episode is watched. In January, Netflix said that Sandra Bullock-starrer Bird Box had been watched by 80 million households in first month, and 45 million subscribers had watched it in the first 7 days. Back then, it also claimed that the psychological thriller series You, and high school drama Sex Education had been viewed by over 40 million households in the first few weeks, while Spanish teen series Élite had scored 20 million members.
In its latest Q1 earnings report, Netflix confirmed that the popular series The Umbrella Academy was viewed by more than 45 million member households in the first month of its release. Triple Frontier — from Margin Call director J.C. Chandor — was viewed by over 52 million households in the first four weeks on Netflix, and The Highwaymen, starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson as two lawmen who are tasked with bringing down Bonnie and Clyde in the 1930s, is supposedly “on track to being watched by over 40 million households in its first month.”