One thing that differentiates streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon from both cable and network programming is that they keep their viewing figures a close secret.
On occasion they will tout how one of their shows has broken records for the company, and every now and then some distributors or filmmakers will open up about how much revenue their film scored on VOD. Beyond that though, the actual numbers of viewers who watch programming on these services is kept under wraps.
Now, research company Nielsen reports that they plan to start monitoring usage of Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video among participants of its nationwide consumer panel.
To do this, they will be using audio-recognition technology to determine what they’re watching. Initially though, Nielsen will only let companies see SVOD viewing information for their own content and NOT the entire scope of what Netflix and Amazon subscribers are watching. So we still won’t know how many people are tuning in to “House of Cards” for example.
The aim of this endeavour is to let media companies gauge what effect licensing programming to SVOD services has had on traditional TV ratings. Hulu won’t be in this study as the ad-supported service is already measured by Nielsen.