Nielsen Says It Can Track Amazon Prime Video Viewership Trends

Nielsen reportedly can now track viewership trends for Amazon Prime Video original content with the same software launched two years ago — with much fanfare — to track Netflix’s domestic TV viewing trends.

Nielsen markets the “Subscription Video on Demand Content Ratings” software to content clients tracking their programming on third-party SVOD platforms.

“This is a significant milestone for Nielsen, especially considering the upcoming high-profile streaming service launches,” Brian Fuhrer, SVP product leadership at Nielsen, said in a statement. “We think the addition of Amazon Prime Video will allow rights owners an added ability to understand both the size, as well as the composition, of their streaming audiences relative to other platforms or programs.”

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While Amazon hasn’t commented on the data disclosure, SVOD rival Netflix contends Nielsen’s data is incomplete because it does not account for portable devices and desktop viewing, in addition to global audiences.

But for Sony Pictures Television, Nielsen’s data for “The Boys,” which it co-produces with Amazon Studios, is invaluable. The series attracted 4.1 million Prime households per episode over the first 10 days of release — in addition to 6 million for the premiere episode.

“Nielsen has the ability to help us understand what these audiences are doing outside of those platforms as well — how and what they are watching on other on-demand and linear services,” James Petretti, SVP, U.S. research and analytics at Sony Pictures Television, said in a media statement.

Regardless, Nielsen’s viewership tracking of Prime Video and Netflix content does not necessarily fit into the marketing plans for the SVOD giants, according to Jeffrey Lodgson, media analyst at JBL Advisors.

“[Public ratings] would not serve Netflix’s plan or perspective on the entertainment universe,” Logsdon told TechCrunch. “Talent may try to use viewership numbers to extract higher compensation than a more simplistic renewal process.”

‘Stranger Things’ Spends Eighth Week Atop Parrot Analytics’ TV Demand Charts

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on not only Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended Aug. 17, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable, for the eighth straight week.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

For the week, “Stranger Things” registered 152.6 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was down 9% in expressions compared with the previous week.

Rising a spot to No. 2 was Amazon Prime Video’s dark superhero adaptation “The Boys,” which registered 56 million expressions, down 10.3% from the previous week.

Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” dropped to No. 3. Its demand expressions dropped 32.4% to 48.9 million.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” rose to No. 4 with a 5.6% increase in expressions to 36.3 million. The finale of season three was released Aug. 14.

DC Universe’s “Titans” dropped to No. 5, with expressions down 9.8% to 32.9 million.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Amazon Remains Mum on Show Ratings

Drawing attention to programming through ratings and viewership data is as old as Nielsen.

With the over-the-top video market about to get crowded by Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+ and NBC Universal, some services such as Netflix have taken to releasing viewership data for select series and movies when the numbers are self-promoting.

The SVOD pioneer recently disclosed that more than 40 million households had streamed the third season of “Stranger Things,” one of its flagship original series.

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Don’t expect Amazon Prime Video to follow the strategy.

“We know what the numbers are and we’ll single out shows that are overperforming, but we’ve yet to embrace a strategy as a company where we put out actual numbers,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, told the media over the weekend at the studio’s Television Critics Association presentation.

The strategy underscores Amazon’s reluctance updating Prime membership numbers (last revealed at 100 million globally) or disclosing Prime Video viewership data.

What the studio isn’t afraid of is canceling shows, which Netflix and Hulu do as well.

Amazon is not renewing new seasons of “The Romanoffs,” “Patriot,” “Forever” and “Too Old To Die.”

New releases include “The Boys,” pending “Carnival Row,” a fifth season of “The Expanse” and upcoming “The Banker’s Wife.”

Meanwhile, hardboiled L.A. cop drama “Bosch,” Amazon’s longest-running original series renewed last year for a sixth season, remains a mystery regarding actual viewers.