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The U.K. should soon have a much clearer picture of just how much Netflix is — or isn’t — dominating TV viewership.
The streamer has officially signed up to U.K. audience measurement company BARB (the Broadcasters Audience Research Board), making it “the first industry-owned audience currency in the world that Netflix has joined,” according to the organization. (Netflix’s audiences have for years been measured by Nielsen in the U.S., although it has no formal agreement with the company).
While BARB has been reporting streaming viewing at both a service and program level since November, only its underwriting organizations and those with a special license had access to the data. As a BARB licensee, starting from Nov. 1 this year, Netflix viewing data, alongside all streaming viewing that accounts for more than 0.5 percent of total identified viewing, will be reported to BARB clients and on the BARB website in the same way it reports viewing for all other BARB-reported channels and VOD services.
“Back in 2019, at the RTS conference in Cambridge, I welcomed the idea of Netflix audiences being measured independently,” said Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings. “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 U.K.”
According to BARB, across 2022 so far, broadcasters’ linear channels and on-demand services have accounted for around two-thirds of all identified viewing in the U.K., while SVOD/AVOD services comprised about one-sixth of all viewing. In September, while BBC and ITV dominated viewing, accounting for 56.08 minutes and 32.08 minutes on average per day, Netflix topped Channel 4, with 19.29 minutes compared to 16.45 minutes. Comcast’s Sky, meanwhile, attracted an average of 14.10 daily minutes of viewing, followed by Paramount Global’s Channel 5 with 12.07 minutes, Amazon Prime Video with 8.26 minutes and Disney+ with 7.14 minutes.
The average daily viewing time for broadcasters’ services was 159 minutes, and the average for SVOD/AVOD services was 36 minutes per day.
“Our audience measurement continuously adapts to accommodate the new platforms and devices that are being used by people to watch their favorite television shows,” said Justin Sampson, CEO of BARB. “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.”
Also from November, BARB will extend its weekly reporting of the top 50 shows to include shows across all linear channels and SVOD service providers. This will reinforce BARB’s rankings as the most comprehensive and representative record of the most-watched shows in the UK.
While Netflix and other streaming services have clearly established themselves within the television-viewing ecosystem, broadcasters continue to account for the lion’s share of viewing in the U.K.
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