Netflix doesn’t generally release charts, or very much information at all, about which of their streaming shows people are watching and how many are watching it. But that doesn’t stop other companies from trying to guess and sell that data. One such company, Symphony Advanced Media, gave up on its “VideoPulse” service, which claimed to be able to guess Netflix’s ratings (something Netflix denied) gave up earlier this year after claiming (to our delight) that Fuller House was watched by more people than watch The Walking Dead on TV.
Now, a new company has entered the fray: analytics firm Jumpshot. Jumpshot has released a chart of the “most viewed Netflix shows,” defined as the relative number of viewers who watched at least one episode of a series, data the San Francisco based company gets from analyzing “click-stream data from an online panel of more than 100 million consumers, which amounts to 160 billion individual clicks per month,” according to Variety, or roughly the number of clicks as an article about Frank Cho‘s latest outrageous drawing gets on Bleeding Cool. And what they came up with?
As you can imagine, that chart is making its way around the web (generally without much background info on where the chart came from) with headlines like “Iron Fist one of the most watched Marvel shows on Netflix.” It’s an attractive headline, especially with The Defenders launching this weekend, and considering how controversial Iron Fist was online. Fans of the show, or its side of the culture wars, feel vindicated to see it do well. Detractors are outraged it performed so well, better than the more positively received Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
But the truth is, nobody really has any idea how accurate the chart above is, though the fact that the popular Orange Is The New Black was the lowest-rated show on the chart does raise some warning flags that it could be inaccurate. The fact is, the purpose of the chart isn’t to inform people about Netflix’s viewership, but rather to sell subscriptions to Jumpshot’s analytics services to companies looking to increase their advertising revenue. The numbers itself are an “index,” representing relative and not actual number of viewers, similar to the Diamond Sales Charts for comics (except that in Diamond’s case, Diamond is the company actually distributing the comics, so they have direct access to the data). Jumpshot doesn’t say what they’re basing this data on, but the one thing we can be confident of is that it isn’t from actual click data at Netflix itself, which would be the most accurate way to determine who watched a show.
Netflix doesn’t share viewership numbers, but they do have a “Most Popular” widget in their app. Of the three fellow Bleeding Cool reporters we spoke to, all of whom watch similar shows that should tell Netflix’s algorithms they should be interested in Iron Fist, none could find Iron Fist in their Most Popular widget.
So was Iron Fist the third most-watched show on Netflix in this (undefined) time range, performing better than all other Marvel shows except Daredevil Season 2? It could very well be. Jumpshot isn’t the first firm to claim it. But Jumpshot’s charts, without any transparent evidence to back them up, should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. In fact, according to Bleeding Cool’s revolutionary, proprietary ClickBate(TM) Analytics Technologies, readers on average are taking the news with approximately 240% more grains of salt than similar stories, so please take that into consideration when digesting the information above.
NOTE: Bleeding Cool cannot be held legally responsible for any salt poisoning incurred from following the advice of its revolutionary, proprietary ClickBate(TM) Analytics Technology.