Netflix and Amazon Prime Video prefer to keep a tight lid on ratings data, doling out information in ways they see fit. Even Nielsen, which has been measuring Netflix and Amazon viewership for some time, has limited the amount of streaming data it shares with the public.
But Variety has obtained a recent Nielsen streaming report, for the week of March 2 to 8, which sheds more insight into viewer streaming habits — including stats for original programs, acquired fare and movies/specials at Netflix and original programs and movie/specials at Amazon. (Both streamers declined comment for this story, and Nielsen didn't return any requests for comment.)
Insiders have said that Nielsen numbers are pretty close to internal data — and Nielsen has been working on its streaming ratings methodology for some time for its SVOD Content Ratings. Critics argue its numbers are still underrepresented because it only covers the U.S. and doesn't include viewing on mobile devices or PCs.
For years, Netflix has dismissed the Nielsen reports, noting those very reasons. But last fall at the New York Times DealBook conference, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings admitted that the Nielsen numbers would be useful to measure time being spent on the service "in the streaming war."
There's a good reason for that: Netflix comes out very well in Nielsen's streaming numbers. For the week of March 2, its original true crime docuseries "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez" delivered 2.8 million adults 18-49 in its first full week.
Split into three segments, reality phenom "Love Is Blind" (Eps 1-5) delivered 1.5 million adults 18-49 for episodes 1-5, 1.3 million for episodes 6-9, and the finale episodes delivered 829K in its first full week on Netflix. And the Netflix original film "Spenser Confidential" delivered 5 million adults 18-49 in its premiere weekend, up 6% from the premiere weekend of the film "6 Underground" in December.
One observer of these charts said they were most struck by the "decay" rate of most series — in other words, they don't have sizable viewing for too long. Many shows that open at a certain level see double digit declines in their first full week.
The most talked-about chart here, however, may wind up being the "acquired series" ranker for Netflix. NBCUniversal's "The Office" remains a strong player on the site, while Pop TV's "Schitt's Creek" also is a top performer. Perhaps the most unexpected presence in the top 10 is "That '70s Show," which went off the air in 2006.