Just how many people actually watch shows on Netflix and Amazon? The streaming services are notoriously secretive about their TV viewing figures, but US ratings company Nielsen believes they are getting closer to finding out those all-important numbers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, for several months Nielsen has been tracking almost 1000 shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, finding out not just how many people are watching, but also data like viewers’ age and gender.
This could be a significant step forward: Netflix and Amazon are able to gather very precise information on shows’ popularity and subscriber viewing habits, but because they rely on subscriptions rather than advertising, there is no need for them to make this information public.
Meanwhile, everyone else is intrigued to know how original streaming shows like House of Cards and Ripper Street compare to TV shows on ‘traditional’ channels.
Amazon earlier this month took the surprise decision to reveal its most-watched TV series on Amazon Prime UK in 2015. That accolade goes to fantasy drama Outlander – made by US cable channel Starz.
Unfortunately, the data Nielsen is collecting is still pretty limited. The report explains that they are only tracking viewers in the USA, and doesn’t include views on mobile devices. The company says it is working to fill that big information black hole, but Netflix claim that not taking into account overseas and mobile subscribers makes the results meaningless.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news