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Netflix signs up to BARB

October 12, 2022

By Colin Mann

Netflix has signed up to UK television audience measurement service BARB. It is the first industry-owned audience currency in the world that Netflix has joined.

The development comes less than a year after BARB introduced an upgrade of its daily audience reporting. Since November 2021, streaming services have been an integral part of its reporting of what people watch across linear and on-demand services. Its daily reporting includes aggregate-level viewing to SVoD/AVoD and video-sharing platforms, as well as content ratings for shows on the leading SVoD services.

This innovation, underpinned by technology developed by Kantar, reinforces BARB’s longstanding commitment to track the latest developments in how media companies are distributing television shows across different platforms and devices. The new independent data has also clarified the competition for viewers.

While Netflix and other streaming services have clearly established themselves within the television-viewing ecosystem, broadcasters continue to account for the lion’s share of viewing in the UK. Across 2022, broadcasters’ linear channels and on-demand services have accounted for around two-thirds of all identified viewing, while SVoD/AVoD services comprise about one-sixth of all viewing. The average daily viewing time to broadcasters’ services was 159 minutes in September 2022, and the average for SVoD/AVoD services was 36 minutes per day.

From the second week of November 2022, BARB will publicly report the monthly reach and share of viewing for broadcaster groups and SVoD/AVoD services which account for more than 0.5 per cent of total identified viewing.

Also from November, BARB will extend its weekly reporting of the top 50 shows to include shows across all linear channels and SVoD service providers.

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

“Our audience measurement continuously adapts to accommodate the new platforms and devices that are being used by people to watch their favourite television shows,” added Justin Sampson, Chief Executive of BARB. “We took a big step forward last year when we started reporting audiences to streaming services. Netflix’s commitment to BARB sends a clear signal that what we’re doing is valuable to new and established players in the market.”

For viewing from November 1st, BARB will report Netflix viewing every day at both a service and a programme level to its clients. This will be in the same way it reports viewing for over 300 other subscribing broadcast channels, BVoD, AVoD and SVoD services. Netflix viewing data will be available to all BARB clients on the morning of November 2nd through existing viewing analysis software and data-processing bureaux.

According to Sydney Vieira, head of customer success at 7th Minute, while the announcement was big news this morning, it doesn’t come as a surprise. “Disney+ has been a Barb subscriber for over a year, and as Netflix readies itself to introduce its much-anticipated ad-funded model it knows only too well that advertisers will want transparency about what their media budgets are buying – particularly in the currently challenging economic environment.”

“Should UK broadcasters be worried? On the one hand, yes probably. Netflix has collected rich audience insights for years, and the Barb viewing figures are the icing on the cake. This requires traditional TV broadcasters to provide as much value as possible to advertisers and demonstrate the benefits and value of linear as budgets move across to streaming services.”

But on the other side of the coin, these same broadcasters also sit on a wealth of data. Organised, analysed and understood, the granular insight that this enables will let them compete in a market that will increasingly focus on precise audience and contextual targeting.”


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