Starting next month, we'll see independently audited viewing figures for Netflix shows

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Streaming video giant Netflix has signed up as a member of Barb (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) in the UK. This means that starting in November we will have access to independently audited viewing figures for Netflix shows.

The numbers will make for interesting reading as, until now, this is data that Netflix has been very secretive about. But with an ad-supported tier due to be launched, advertisers will require details about the number of people they can expect to reach with their advertisements.

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The first set of viewing figures are due to be published on November 2, but it is not clear quite how far off Netflix is from launching its ad-supported membership option. The company has never before allowed an external, independent agency to access its viewing data, and the industry will be watching closely to see what is revealed.

Co-chief executive of Netflix, Reed Hastings said:

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.

The numbers released by Barb next month will be far more detailed and informative than anything that has come from Netflix previously. In the past, the company has only ever given broad details about the number of people who have watched particularly successful shows, but it has never made clear how it defines a viewer -- is it someone who watches a show in its entirety, someone who watches at least half a show, or is even the briefest of views counted? Barb's figures will be independently audited, and will allow for direct comparison with traditional broadcast channels.

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