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Nielsen unveils some of Netflix's closely guarded streaming ratings


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

June 30, 2016 | 3 min read

Nielsen has unveiled its first figures around shows on streaming services, ushering in a new era of transparency for platforms like Netflix.

Orange is the New Black Nielsen

Orange is the New Black achieved high viewing figures for its season four premiere

Nielsen has been tracking streaming data for TV studios that ‘opt in’ to work with the measurement firm by sharing digital files that can be scanned for audio fingerprints to reveal viewer data.

The method can be applied to measure any programming a studio has produced, which means that studio-backed original shows created for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are free to be included in the data.

The first findings of its research into viewership of TV shows on streaming services have shown that the fourth season premiere of Orange is the New Black, which is a Netflix original produced by Lions Gate, was watched by 6.7 million viewers in the US in the three days after it debuted.

By the same yardstick, the 19 June episode of HBO cable hit Game of Thrones clocked up 10.4 million views, meaning that if Orange is the New Black was a TV show it would take ‘second place’ as the most-watched behind the fantasy drama.

The data from Nielsen is usually only shared privately with studios, but yesterday (29 June) it was revealed to select media partners at a conference in Las Vegas.

While the figures indicate how streamed content viewing figures are now gaining ground on traditional TV content, Netflix and others have not been supportive of Nielsen’s tracking in the past preferring instead to use subscriber growth as a way of showing success to investors.

Nielsen also gave some insight into the audiences for streaming services, saying that 44 per cent of viewers using Netflix to watch the Sony-produced Better Call Saul are aged between 18 to 34-years-old, compared with 24 per cent of the same age group watching on TV.

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