Netflix to Upend Viewership Data, Focusing on Time Spent Streaming

With a record 142 million households streaming original series “Squid Game,” and more than 214 million subscribers worldwide, Netflix is leveraging its market position with plans to disclose more viewership data outside quarterly fiscal reports.

The once-shy data company is now using its take on viewership to drive brand awareness and content popularity. While some observers may scoff at Netflix recording a viewer after 120 seconds of streaming, Netflix contends the time frame underscores its move toward tracking hours — not subs viewing — its original programs.

Later in the year, Netflix will shift to reporting on hours viewed for original titles rather than the number of subscriber accounts that choose to watch them.

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“We think engagement as measured by hours viewed is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of our titles and member satisfaction,” co-CEOs Reed Hastings, Ted Sarandos and CFO Spencer Neumann wrote in a Oct. 19 shareholder letter. “It also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and gives proper credit to re-watching. In addition, we will start to release title metrics more regularly outside of our earnings report so our members and the industry can better measure success in the streaming world.”

In the meantime, Netflix said action movie Sweet Girl, starring Jason Momoa (68 million households watched in the first four weeks); Kissing Booth 3 (59 million), the last installment in the rom-com trilogy; the animated family film Vivo (46 million); and Blood Red Sky, a German-language action horror movie (53 million) resonated among Netflix subs in the quarter. Season five of “La Casa de Papel” (aka “Money Heist”) and season three of “Sex Education” generated audiences of 69 million and 55 million households in their first four weeks, respectively.

Netflix expects new limited series “Maid,” which launched Oct. 1 just after the end of Q3, to score with subscribers. The streamer expects the story about a woman living on the poverty line, by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Molly Smith Metzler, to reach 67 million households during its first four weeks.

“While the goal of our local content executives is always to create locally authentic stories that will resonate in their country (like ‘The Chestnut Man,’ which we expect will be streamed by about two thirds of its Danish subs, Netflix’s main goal to be a global, direct-to-consumer service, which enables creators to reach broader audiences — and gives our members an even greater choice of stories to enjoy,” Hastings, Sarandos and Neumann wrote.

Nielsen Ups Web Data Tracking Prowess, Safeguards

Nielsen July 27 announced it would no longer use third-party cookies to monitor users’ digital content consumption. With its new approach to measuring authenticated and unauthenticated web traffic, Nielsen said it would become the leading platform to validate first-party server data with real consumer behavior.

Third-party cookie deprecation is fundamentally changing the advertising ecosystem, according to Nielsen. Combined with the deterioration of other digital identifiers, there’s greater emphasis on first-party data, which provides a good understanding of online users’ unique habits, from website browsing to app usage. As a result, every publisher and brand has been challenged to develop its own first-party data strategy and leverage other data signals when identity is not directly attributable to an ad impression.

The transition comes just days after the legacy TV rating firm said it suffered an “unexpected disruption” to its data tracking it said was caused by a cyber attack.

“If the industry has learned anything since the rise of cookies, it’s that digital media measurement must remain scalable, flexible and useful,” Mainak Mazumdar, chief data officer at Nielsen, said in a statement. “Our new approach to measuring authenticated and unauthenticated digital traffic will enable us to scale across channels and platforms to ensure a comprehensive view of success and uncover areas for optimization.”

The market for digital distribution and advertising evolves, Nielsen contends digital traffic will ultimately move into two distinct categories for measurement following the deprecation of digital identifiers:

  • Authenticated: Traffic with identifiers on properties which have logged in environments or consented devices. To measure authenticated traffic, Nielsen will leverage all available identifiers and first-party data from participating clients, such as hashed email addresses, Unified ID 2.0 and select, verified self-reported demographic labels. This will ensure interoperability in the ad ecosystem, including with walled gardens, and simplify measurement for clients by reducing reliance on third parties.
  • Unauthenticated: Logged out traffic or traffic on properties that do not have logged in environments or where no alternative identifiers can be provided. To measure anonymous traffic, Nielsen has developed a machine learning technique with  additional contextual data signals including time, browser, content and device information.


As Nielsen continues to evolve its technologies and methodologies for independent measurement of audiences and outcomes, it has identified a five-pronged approach to measuring authenticated and unauthenticated web traffic.

  1. Interoperability: As digital identity continues to fragment, Nielsen’s use of a diverse set of identifiers and first-party data provided by clients, such as hashed email addresses, Unified ID 2.0 and verified self-reported demographic labels  will ensure interoperability in the ad ecosystem to manage future changes with agility and to simplify measurement for clients.
  2. Comparability: In the absence of alternate identifiers or first-party data, Nielsen claims it is able to provide comparability with its common measurement framework and data science across platforms and publishers. For instance, Nielsen will use time, browser and other metadata within its people-based panel to determine demographic assignments for unauthenticated audience and outcomes measurement.
  3. Persistence: Nielsen is transitioning from an identity backbone to so-called “stable identifiers” that remain consistent over time, offering measurement that is tied to actual people and households.
  4. Confidentiality: With new, confidential computing technologies, Nielsen hopes to bring more assurances of data confidentiality to audience and outcomes measurement. Proprietary confidential computing technologies enable Nielsen to run a wide variety of analytics applications, delivering faster and more flexible custom analytics capabilities to clients.

Tremor Video Launching Connected TV Data Tracking Service

With the rise in ad-supported VOD and “free ad-supported streaming television” or FAST, Tremor Video March 23 announced the upcoming launch of its data-driven TV Intelligence platform. Building upon its experience in Connected TV (CTV) and addressable TV retargeting, Tremor contends its new software will allow advertisers to reach the most relevant consumers through greater breadth and depth of audience data assets.

Launching this May, Tremor Video’s TV Intelligence platform will leverage a set of television viewing and audience data coupled with video to support advertisers’ TV and cross-device media strategies. The software aims to combine “automatic content recognition” (ACR) and set-top box data across a domestic TV viewing footprint of more than 12 million households and 100 million addressable devices.

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Other platform features include combining “rich data sets” with advanced and customizable measurement solutions, working with a team of experts committed to developing campaign strategies unique to the nuanced objectives and needs of each individual client.

Tremor Video entered TV data analysis in 2016, strengthening its marketplace position by acquiring RhythmOne in 2019 and Unruly in 2020. The company’s Unruly subsidiary is recognized as a top supply platform, ranking the No. 1 direct CTV supply partner among Roku’s key app categories.

Whip Media Inks Data Tracking Deal With Tastemade

Software platform and data provider Whip Media Feb. 25 announced that Tastemade, a media company with a global audience of more than 300 million monthly viewers, will utilize its data performance tracking solution for linear free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST).

A lifestyle media company, Tastemade produces hundreds of hours of video content and original programming in the categories of food, travel, and home and design on all major digital, mobile and streaming television platforms, streaming more than 2.5 billion views each month, according to a Whip press release.

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“The rapid growth of Tastemade’s audience and global OTT distribution partners created the need for better content performance tracking specific to digital linear networks,” according to the press release.

FAST content programmers do not currently have visibility into title-level performance across multiple digital platforms, creating data inefficiencies for FAST networks that need this data to make strategic content acquisition and programming decisions, according to Whip. Whip Media leveraged its data aggregation capabilities to solve this problem by mapping FAST network’s performance data to both its linear schedules and internal metadata, creating an automated performance tracking solution for digital linear networks. Designed to handle scale and improve performance visibility, this platform will help Tastemade make more informed programming decisions.

“As we rapidly expand our global distribution footprint, we’re excited to work with Whip Media to deepen our understanding of how viewers engage with our content across multiple platforms,” said Jay Holzer, head of programming for Tastemade Streaming Network.

“We applaud Tastemade, a truly data-forward modern media company and streaming network, for bringing more visibility to the industry and FAST networks to drive innovation in their businesses,” said Carol Hanley, chief revenue and strategy officer of Whip Media. “This partnership will help Tastemade to leverage the power of their data to drive revenue and share their premium original lifestyle programming with more audiences.”

LG Takes Stake in TV Data and Measurement Firm

LG Electronics, through U.S. subsidiary Zenith Electronics, has taken a controlling stake of more than 50% in TV data and measurement firm Alphonso Inc.

The move is designed “to bring together the two TV industry leaders’ technologies and innovations in LG’s smart TV lineup,” the companies announced. 

“LG has made understanding customer tastes and consumer trends one of its highest priorities as part of its digital transformation strategy to deliver better customized services,” according to a press release.

LG plans to utilize Alphonso software and services — including Alphonso’s data analytics, media planning and activation, and Video AI capabilities — with its home entertainment products.

Alphonso’s combined offerings will enrich consumer services including content recommendations and LG’s own streaming service, LG Channels, to create a robust owned and operated first-screen, cross-device advertising platform with integrated analytics for the smart TV marketplace generally and for LG smart TVs specifically, according to the companies. 

Alphonso will continue to operate as an independent business under its current brand and leadership based in Silicon Valley.

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“Our investment in Alphonso is a key component of our digital transformation strategy focusing on AI, big data and cloud to fundamentally change how consumers interact with their devices,” said Park Hyoung-sei, president of the LG Home Entertainment Company, in a statement. “With Alphonso’s TV data analysis capabilities, LG will be able to better fulfill consumers’ needs by providing them even more customized services and content. We are proud to welcome Alphonso to the LG family.” 

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“LG and Alphonso have a shared vision for advancing the smart TV ecosystem through innovative software and services oriented toward modern new consumer experiences on one end, and highly flexible, lucrative advertising, planning, and measurement offerings for brands, agencies, and broadcasters on the other,” Ashish Chordia, founder and CEO of Alphonso, said in a statement.

“Becoming part of LG Electronics gives Alphonso the backing of one of the world’s leaders in home entertainment products, with access to a massive global inventory of connected TV screens,” he added. “We can now maximize our mutual impact on the TV marketplace as we bring our products together and deliver immense value for the ecosystem.”

TiVo Expands Data Tracking Fields

As time-shifting video pioneer TiVo separates its product and IP licensing businesses into two companies, itannounced that its TV viewership data is being expanded to include third-party services Kantar ad occurrences, and Drawbridge’s Identity Graph and premium demographic attributes.

The Kantar ad data enables customers to know both the programming viewership as well as the advertising viewership across millions of U.S. households.

The Drawbridge Identity Graph enables customers to link viewership data with associated mobile ad identifiers, extending the reach and measurement of advertisements and marketing across pay-TV, over-the-top and digital platforms.

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“Household-level TV data is becoming more attractive as the advertising and media industries look to connect consumer touchpoints across screens, platforms, and campaigns across the TV ecosystem,” Ben Maughan, VP business development and data product management, TiVo, said in a statement.

“Marketers rely on Kantar’s industry-leading ad intelligence data to track competitive activity in their sector. By connecting with TiVo viewership data, we can give our customers a holistic view of what messages consumers are receiving,” said Vik Sharma, SVP for media and tech at Kantar.

“TV’s power as an awareness channel is clear, but it’s long been missing the component of identity,” added Jon DeGennaro, VP of enterprise partnerships at drawbridge. “There’s no reason why TV can’t be as targetable and measurable as other platforms and give marketers the ability to reach and report on viewership, engagement, and conversion across the entire cross-channel consumer journey. Bringing identity to TV does just that.”

With these integrations, TiVo solidifies its role as an innovator in the TV data landscape and continues to deliver improved viewership data products that are partner-agnostic and consistent with the transforming industry.