Some in the media industry have dismissed Netflix's shift to an "hours viewed" format (opens in new tab) for viewership metrics, as well as the introduction of weekly top 10 lists of its shows based on that currency, as a "flex."
But Richard Greenfield, high-profile equity analyst for Lightshed Partners, sees the increased level of transparency as a "new weapon" for Netflix to further showcase just how much its delivering of the assets the creative community craves the most: "money and fame."
"By publishing its actual viewership data, Netflix is essentially creating a new weapon to shift talent/projects in its direction and away from peers," Greenfield wrote on Lightshed's blog Wednesday.
While revealing how many households streamed two minutes of a show in its first 28 days on the platform revealed only so much, showing that action movie Red Notice attracted 149 million viewing hours in just its first three days on the platform gives actors, filmmakers and showrunners a metric they can digest.
"Assuming the vast majority watched the entire two hour movie, it was seen by 76 million household subscribers in just three days," wrote Greenfield after performing some basic math. "Assuming about 2-3 people per Netflix household watched the film together and not assuming repeat viewing, it implies Red Notice was viewed by well over 150 million people in just its first three days of release and potentially over 200 million."
Greenfield compared the performance of Red Notice, which stars Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds, to the summer's two biggest box-office performers, MGM's James Bone: No Time to Die, and Universal's F9.
"Each film has achieved over $700 million of global box office. Based on that same $8 average ticket price, [around] 90 million people saw each of these films to-date (also assumes no repeat viewing)," Greenfield wrote.
Meanwhile, Netflix's metrics become "mind boggling" in regard to Squid Game, which generated 2.1 billion viewing hours in its first two months of release.
"While series watch time is clearly biased by a series’ longer runtime, Squid Game has generated 2.1 billion hours of watch time in its first two months of release," Greenfield added. "Based on the series’ running time of 488 minutes, the viewership implies 258 million household views, which is MORE than Netflix’s current global subscriber base of 213 million. The reason is either repeat viewership or more likely after one or more in a household watches the series, someone else in the household binges it."■
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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