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Netflix to Change How It Measures a Title’s Viewers Post-‘Squid Game’

The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter
 2021-10-19
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Netflix again touted the runaway success of Squid Game in its quarterly earnings report — while at the same time saying it will change the way it publicly reveals viewing data.

In the streamer’s third quarter letter to shareholders, Netflix says that in the future it will report total hours viewed within 28 days of release, rather than the two-minute “view” metric it’s used for the past couple of years.

“We think engagement as measured by hours viewed is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of our titles and member satisfaction,” the shareholder letter reads. “It also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and gives proper credit to rewatching.”

Netflix also says it will “more regularly” release hours viewed counts “so our members and the industry can better measure success in the streaming world.”

The change is in viewing metrics the company publicly shares is the second in as many years for Netflix. The company switched to the two-minute standard with the fourth quarter of 2019; prior to that, it counted any member account that completed 70 percent of a movie or 70 percent of a single TV series episode as a view.

The switch comes on the heels of a Bloomberg report last week that featured more detailed viewing and financial data than Netflix usually shares for individual titles. Internal documents cited in the story say Squid Game would create nearly $900 million in value for the company despite costing only $21.4 million to produce, and that two thirds of the Netflix users who started the series finished it within 23 days.

As for Squid Game , Netflix says the series racked up 142 million views over its first 28 days of release, smashing all previous records at the streamer. The previous high for any title was 99 million views for the Chris Hemsworth action movie Extraction ; among series, it was 82 million for Bridgerton .

The 142 million figure represents two thirds of the 213.56 million global subscribers Netflix reported in its earnings.

The company also cited returning series Money Heist (69 million views) and Sex Education (55 million) and limited series Maid (a projected 67 million) in its earnings report, along with feature films Sweet Girl (68 million), The Kissing Booth 3 (59 million), German horror movie Blood Red Sky (53 million) and animated family film Vivo (46 million).

In terms of hours viewed, Netflix says Bridgerton is its biggest series so far with 625 million hours of consumption worldwide, followed closely by Money Heist part four (619 million). Season three of Stranger Things (582 million hours), The Witcher (541 million) and season two of 13 Reasons Why (496 million) round out the top five.

Squid Game isn’t mentioned in the hours viewed charts, but per Bloomberg, it racked up more than 1.4 billion hours of watch time in 23 days, more than twice that of Bridgerton .

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