The Crown

Source: Netflix

‘The Crown’

Netflix UK viewing data will be widely available for the first time after it forged ties with Barb – with its performance revealed to be sandwiched between Channel 4 and Sky.

The streaming video on demand (SVoD) giant, which posted UK revenues of £1.4bn earlier this week, has taken a major step towards greater transparency by agreeing to be monitored by Barb.

Coming into effect on November 1 ahead of the launch of Netflix’s ad-supported tier, the deal marks the first time it has signed up to an industry-owned audience measurement firm anywhere in the world.

Working with Barb will encourage brands and agencies to run campaigns by providing independent data about the audiences who watch the SVoD’s shows.

Underpinned by Kantar technology, Barb will provide its ratings agency partners with the overnight performance of Netflix shows at the same time as other broadcasters (around 09.35 the day after transmission), with seven and 28-day data subsequently made available. The move brings Netflix into line with the public service broadcasters, other linear channels and the Disney+ on-demand service.

Separately, Barb will expand its top 50 shows of the week table, published via its website, to include Netflix data.

The deal gets underway in time for the fifth series of The Crown, which launches on Netflix on November 9. The previous series drew a seven-day consolidated audience of 3.7m in November 2020 to become the eighth most-watched show of the week.

Partnering with Barb marks the culmination of talks which got underway three years ago, following the RTS Cambridge Convention in 2019 at which co-chief exec Reed Hastings declared its ambition to be measured in the same way as its linear counterparts.

Since then, Hastings is understood to have been keeping a close eye on developments. The most significant step until now occurred last summer, when Barb customers, other than publishers, were offered the ability to buy access to Netflix data for £40,000 per year.

With Netflix now fully signed up, that fee will be dropped and publishers will be able to print the findings.

Netflix performance

Following the deal, Barb will also publish a monthly table setting out the monthly reach and share of the broadcaster groups and SVoD providers, with Amazon UK also included.

Launching with September data, Barb reported that Netflix recorded a monthly reach of 40m individuals (64%). This ranked it as the fourth most-popular broadcaster by audience volume, behind Channel 4 (48m / 75%) and ahead of Sky (39m / 61%).

However, it overhauled the public service broadcaster in terms of time spent. Here Netflix generated an 8.2% share of total identified viewing 19 minutes and 30 seconds per day, while C4 mustered a 7% share (16 mins 46 seconds).

Barb chief executive Justin Sampson said that the data demonstrates that Netflix is an established part of the broadcasting ecosystem.

“One of the striking things is the way in which it mirrors its linear rivals,” he added. “Like them, Netflix relies on a combination of ‘bonfire’ shows for audience to gather round such as Friends and Brooklyn ‘99, augmented with ‘fireworks’ like Stranger Things.

“Our audience measurement continuously adapts to accommodate the new platforms and devices that are being used by people to watch their favourite television shows. Netflix’s commitment to Barb sends a clear signal that what we’re doing is valuable to new and established players in the market.”

Netflix’s Hastings added: “Back in 2019, at the RTS conference in Cambridge, I welcomed the idea of Netflix audiences being measured independently. 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.”

A version of this story first appeared on our sister site, Broadcast.