Netflix to provide full viewing figures as it signs up to ratings body Barb

POLAND - 2022/09/02: In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Netflix will now measure its ratings externally. (SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (SOPA Images via Getty Images)

Netflix is set to provide its full viewing figures measured by an external organisation for the first time, in a move that will see its ratings compared to broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Sky.

The streaming giant has agreed to sign up to TV ratings agency Barb the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb), a significant change from its policy to date of releasing its own viewing figures.

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Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have historically released only snapshots of their viewing data, often highlighting the successes of their bigger shows.

But from 2 November, Netflix viewing data will be available to all Barb subscribers, making UK audience measurement and TV ratings organisation Barb the first industry-owned audience currency in the world that Netflix has joined.

Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in episode 204 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022
Viewing figures for hits such as Bridgerton will be measured independently. (Netflix) (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

It already reports viewing for more than 300 other subscribing broadcast channels, from mainstream services such as the BBC and ITV to smaller channels such as Dave – giving the opportunity to compare how linear channels are measuring up against the streaming service.

Netflix co-chief executive Reed Hastings said: “Back in 2019, at the RTS conference in Cambridge, I welcomed the idea of Netflix audiences being measured independently.

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“We’ve kept in touch with Barb since then and are pleased to make a commitment to its trusted measurement of how people watch television in the UK.”

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth series of The Crown (Netflix)
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth series of The Crown. (Netflix)

Justin Sampson, chief executive of Barb, said: “Our audience measurement continuously adapts to accommodate the new platforms and devices that are being used by people to watch their favourite television shows.

“We took a big step forward last year when we started reporting audiences to streaming services.

“Netflix’s commitment to Barb sends a clear signal that what we’re doing is valuable to new and established players in the market.”

Launching on Netflix in November is season five of hit drama The Crown, often cited by the platform as one of its biggest successes, which should provide some interesting data in its first month at Barb.

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