Netflix Changes the Way to Measure the Success of the Series

Netlfix has completely revolutionized the entertainment landscape and the pattern of content consumption.


Netlfix has completely revolutionized the entertainment landscape and the pattern of content consumption. This article analyzes what success means for the streaming company.

In Spain there are more than 4,700 meters distributed by as many homes to measure the audience of the television of all the life. Only what you see in those audimeters -which distinguish which member of the nuclear family is in front of the screen- is counted when calculating a program’s audience. For a couple of years, the consumption of the guests has also been counted.

The homes are selected with sociological criteria but the audimeters are not infallible. And the one who has one is aware of the power that has been granted.

Since 2014, the social audience is also taken into account, which is measured based on the impact that a television program generates on Twitter (in the United States attention is also paid to Instagram and Facebook). And in 2015 it began to measure also the audience in deferred (that is, the consumption of the programming until seven days after its live broadcast) to respond to the new habits of the viewers who prefer to watch the programs when they can or want .

The results obtained in these three types of audiences show that the results of the same program differ according to the modality of consumption, that is, a program can succeed in deferred or in networks and fail in its linear emission.

The online video store

However, the deferred audience does not measure in Spain what is consumed in other devices than televisions or everything that is seen beyond seven days after the broadcast. What is clear is that it is increasingly difficult to determine the success of an audiovisual content.

With the expansion of video consumption on the Internet, came the online video clubs or technically called OTT (Over The Top) platforms and everything became even more complicated. They do not have to invest in large infrastructures to reach households and, for a price lower than that of pay television, they offer a huge offer of series and cinema.

Netflix has 148 million users around the world and has become the model that everyone follows: HBO, Amazon Prime, etc.

The secret lies in producing your own content, that works, that engages and saves the payment to creators outside the Netflix orbit. If necessary, a film is released in a few rooms so that you can opt, for example, to the Oscars, and after a few days it is available to all subscribers. That is the case of Rome.

In fact, the platform increasingly “suggests” less audiovisual content produced outside of its budgets and more programs and films of its own.

In 2019, Netflix will spend 15,000 million dollars (more than 13,000 million euros) in original content. Should television networks worry about the success of this digital video store?

The future of linear emissions is assured because the viewer does not always want to have the ability to choose what he wants to see: passive consumption is and will be pleasant. It is very enviable to get home, lie on the couch, put on the television and see what others have decided to place on the grill. For now, Netflix has not started producing live programs, and that is the main strong point to which traditional television must cling to survive.

What success means for Netflix

So far, the success of a television program depended essentially on the audience that it would reap in its first broadcast. Quality content risked failure due to external factors: day and time of issue, competition, promotion of the chain, etc.

With the expansion of Netflix all this has changed. What does Netflix have in mind when deciding whether or not to renew a series? Taking into account how reserved it is to give audience data, the criteria that determine success according to the few data that the platform releases are these:

  • Number of views: This criterion is obvious, although it is not the only one to be taken into account.
  • Triumph in its first month: The operation during the first four weeks seems to be the standard established by Netflix to determine if something has a future or not. It is a success that a self-produced film like Blind is seen in 80 million homes in its first month. Therefore, it is very likely that there will be a sequel. Keep in mind that, for Netflix, someone has “seen” a series or movie if it has consumed at least 70% of the content.
  • The percentage of viewers that reach the last chapter of a series.
  • Reputation: Netflix inherits the old television habit of having documentary channels that then few see. In this case it translates into quality content that the user likes to see, even if they are not the most viewed. This does not only refer to elite content. There are products that have given prestige to the platform, such as the beginnings of House of Cards or Narcos. That quality patina they provide is decisive in the face of their renewal.

On-demand hearings

The dictatorship of the exclusively quantitative audience in a short period of time or limited to seven days has ended. This will transform television as a whole. In fact, the large groups of communication are already putting the batteries so that all their products can be consumed on demand with quality and, most importantly, ease.

If Netflix did not exist, the paper house would not have become a global phenomenon and the third season would not be taking place. Moreover, having no outstanding results, the format would never have been purchased abroad for broadcast in other markets and it would have been very difficult for the viewer to get hooked before what is already the series of non-English speech most consumed in history of Netflix.

Everything has changed. Now the audiovisual producers are not going to be judged in a single day or in a single emission, but they will have a month to see if their content has set among the tastes of the spectators. At least, all those who get on the Netflix cart.