Netflix is Finally Going to Release Viewership Data After Years of Secrecy

Netflix is known for a lot of things, but transparency isn’t exactly one of them. For years, the big red streaming giant has been notoriously tight lipped about its viewership data, refusing to release the official numbers about how many of its customers are actually watching its movies and series. That may all be about to change, however, as Netflix executives are now signaling that the streaming leader will soon be more open about its viewership data. Why the sudden shift in policy?

In a conference call with investors this week, Netflix chief content officer and sometimes spokesperson Ted Sarandos said the streaming service is on a new campaign of transparency. As part of this initiative, Sarandos says, Netflix will release “more specific and granular data and reporting” to various outlets starting with content producers, followed by subscribers, and then the press.

According to Sarandos, Netflix’s ultimate goal is to be “more fully transparent about what people are watching on Netflix around the world.” In the past, Netflix has declined nearly every request for subscribers’ viewing preferences and viewership totals, even with its biggest original and licensed properties. There have been a few instances where the streaming service has opened up, though; Netflix claimed in 2015 that its original series Narcos had a larger viewership than Game of Thrones, a claim many outlets balked at. By releasing their official viewership statistics, Netflix could dispel such doubt in the future.

It’s still known how Netflix collects viewership data or in what form data will be released in the future, although Netflix executives have hinted that the streaming leader might release figures  every quarter.

Greater transparency is always a good thing. Now that Netflix is finally taking steps to release viewership data, it makes you wonder: why has Netflix hidden this information in the past? Will subscribers view Netflix the same once we all get a peek behind the curtain? Perhaps the most important question is: will investors be pleased with the data as it begins to be released?