Nielsen, which has already been measuring U.S. viewing of Netflix shows, is expanding its measurement capabilities to include Amazon Prime Video.
In making the announcement of the Amazon addition, Nielsen also said the audience for The Boys during the first 10 days of its availability was 4.1 million, with an average of 6 million watching its premiere episode. The eight-episode first season racked up 8 million total viewers from July 26 to August 4, its first 10 days on the platform, with 39% of the audience between the ages of 35 and 49.
Measuring TV viewing has never been an exact science and Nielsen has come under increasing scrutiny as the competition for audiences has grown more intense. The dominant ratings company introduced streaming metrics in 2016 along with other improvements to traditional linear and on-demand viewing. Separately, Netflix has begun to offer more regular voluntary reports of select viewership numbers after refusing to reveal any statistics for several years.
Significantly, given the global strategy of Amazon, Netflix and other streaming players, the Nielsen numbers only measure the U.S. Also, Amazon numbers do not include smartphone or tablet viewing.
The whole arena of streaming viewing is becoming more vital to the media and tech sectors as Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal get set to roll out new streaming services. No company has indicated what kind of insights into viewership it plans to offer, apart from subscriber numbers. Legacy companies have complained for years about having to submit to the ritual of ratings information when companies like Netflix and Amazon remained free to pick and choose which numbers they report.
Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product leadership at Nielsen, proclaimed the addition of Amazon numbers as a “significant milestone for Nielsen, especially considering the upcoming high-profile streaming launches.”
James Petretti, SVP of Global Production and U.S. Research at Sony Pictures Television, called the Nielsen numbers “invaluable” to the studio. Sony will be better able to “understand how our programs perform on these platforms and the audiences they attract,” he said. “We are also able to understand the impact of traditional linear advertising driving viewers to these SVOD programs so what Nielsen is providing is extraordinarily compelling.”
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