There is not a lot of transparency with how streaming king Netflix counts its viewership. Earlier in the month, Netflix announced it’s top watched movies of 2019, so we all check out at what people who subscribe to the streaming service are watching the most content. However, the way the streaming giant figured out what counts as a view is a bit complicated.
Originally, if someone watched 70% of any program on the service, that counted as a view. Things have different 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 revealed a report saying 83 million people watched the 6 Underground which is a new movie on the service, that doesn’t really mean 83 million people actually watched the entire movie or even half of it. They all watched for at least two minutes, and none of this is supported by a third party company.
“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 system is about 35% higher on average than the previous metric,” a shareholder letter said (via THR).
Of course, that metric will be higher. Two minutes of watching is less than 2% of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, a three and a half hour movie. With most of the movies, two minutes of watch time might simply mean, “You made it through the opening credits.” The old 70% rule seems like a much more reliable way to estimate how people are watching the streaming service’s shows and movies.