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Netflix signs up to ratings body Barb

by George Mensah
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Netflix has joined the TV ratings agency Barb, which means that for the first time, its audiences will be measured by an external, independent body.

Barb is now the world’s first industry-owned ratings service that Netflix has joined.

Previously, the streaming behemoth only released snapshots of its viewing data, emphasizing the popularity of its most popular shows.

Barb will begin reporting Netflix viewing statistics in November.

It is a significant move for the streamer, and the data will be used to determine the success or failure of Netflix properties by advertisers, competitors, and journalists.

Netflix is not the only service included; any service that accounts for more than 0.5% of total identified viewing will be included as well. This means that content from services like Disney and Amazon will almost certainly be included.

While BARB has been reporting streaming viewing at both the service and program levels since November 2021, access to Netflix’s data was previously restricted to its underwriting organizations and those with a special license.

Barb (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) compiles audience measurement and TV ratings in the United Kingdom.

The ratings for Netflix will be reported in the same way that viewing for more than 300 other subscribing broadcast channels is.

Barb currently covers networks ranging from mainstream services like the BBC and ITV to smaller channels like Dave and E4.

Barb (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) compiles audience measurement and TV ratings in the United Kingdom.

The ratings for Netflix will be reported in the same way that viewing for more than 300 other subscribing broadcast channels is.

Barb currently covers networks ranging from mainstream services like the BBC and ITV to smaller channels like Dave and E4.

The announcement comes as Netflix reportedly plans to launch an ad-supported tier for its streaming service.

“Back in 2019, at the RTS conference in Cambridge, I welcomed the idea of Netflix audiences being measured independently,” said co-CEO Reed Hastings.

“We’ve kept in touch with Barb since then and are delighted to commit to its trusted measurement of how people in the UK watch television.”

Barb’s chief executive, Justin Sampson, stated: “Our audience measurement is constantly evolving to accommodate new platforms and devices that people use to watch their favorite television shows.

“We made significant progress last year when we began reporting audience data to streaming services.

“Netflix’s commitment to Barb sends a strong signal that what we’re doing is valuable to both new and established market players.”

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Netflix viewing data will be available to all Barb subscribers beginning November 2nd via its existing analysis software and other systems.

The timing coincides with the premiere of season five of the royal drama The Crown, which could have a significant impact on Barb’s ratings during the streamer’s initial weeks of availability.

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