In a streaming age in which viewer metrics are often limited to the turbidity of little tidbits in Netflix quarterly shareholder newsletters, startup research company Parrot Analytics has captured attention recently with a proprietary metric it calls “demand expressions.”
The company’s series popularity rankings, based on this mysterious metric, have often been cited in media and technology publications like Next TV, which are looking for some indicator of a particular show’s viewership.
But what is a demand expression, anyway? Wared Seger, the 32-year-old CEO of the startup, which was founded in Auckland, New Zealand but has offices in places like Beverly Hills, tried to explain his company’s methodology to the New York Times.
According to the interview, Parrot’s self-described “attention measurement platform,” which it calls TV360, takes into account a number of “signals” observed from various sources on the internet—everything from Google searches for a movie or TV show, to Facebook likes, to pirated downloads to Wikipedia traffic.
Parrot says in its marketing materials that “This results in a sophisticated, holistic view of TV audience demand for each market.”
Rather than measure how many folks actually watched a show—still a not a ubiquitously obtained Holy Grail in the streaming age—demand expressions attempts to numerically quantify how many might watch it in the future.
According to NYT, Parrot Analytics has found a close correlation between its demand expression measurements and subscriber growth for major SVOD services including Netflix and Hulu.
“When the two happen with high correlation, we get to uncover possible hidden acquisition and retention mechanisms that are useful to make investment and business decisions,” Seger said.
Parrot Analytics has raised $15 million to date, and boasts clients including Amazon, AT&T/WarnerMedia, Google, the Walt Disney Company and the CAA talent agency, among others.
The company is targeting individual show creators and producers with a $59-a-month subscription to its online platform.
We here at Next TV have referenced the demand expressions metric in the past, and will likely continue to judiciously leverage it in the future. But we’re still not sure we entirely understand it, or are entirely sold on its efficacy.
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