Days after Disney wowed investors with a presentation about its upcoming streaming service and aspirant Netflix-killer, Disney+, Netflix has hit back with some big numbers of its own—viewership figures that, as always, have been selectively culled by a company that has been cagey about its closely guarded metrics. Following Disneys presentation last week, Disney stocks soared while Netflixs dipped. Perhaps thats why Netflix now thinks its important to broadcast the fact that 45 million subscribers supposedly watched The Umbrella Academy within the first four weeks of its release.
According to Variety, Netflix self-reported an assortment of viewership data Tuesday, adding that its Ben Affleck heist movie, Triple Frontier, got views from more than 52 million member households in its first four weeks live; its Fyre Festival documentary, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, reportedly attracted over 20 million viewers in its first month; and the David Attenborough nature downer Our Planet, the streamer reports, is apparently “tracking to be one of our most successful global documentary series launches yet,” with a projected viewership of more than 25 million member households within its first month. (As Variety notes, Netflix counts a “view” as long as the user streaming the content makes it through at least 70 percent of a film and 70 percent of a single TV episode—so for TV series, specifically, this metric is simply not comparable to its Nielsen-measured counterpart for broadcast and cable shows.)
The Umbrella Academy boast, in particular, appears strategic. Netflix has, after all, purged its splashy slate of Marvel shows in anticipation of Disney+; by crowing about The Umbrella Academy, its able to tout its own comic-book-inspired success story. (The Umbrella Academy was based on a comic of the same title, created by former My Chemical Romance front man Gerard Way and Brazilian comic-book artist Gabriel Bá.) Perhaps this ratings shout-out was the metaphorical equivalent of Netflix shaking its fist at its canceled Marvel properties, shouting, “We dont need you anymore!”
Faced with increased competition from a growing assortment of players in the streaming game—in addition to Disney, WarnerMedia and Comcast will soon join the fray with their own platforms as well—Netflix appears to be loosening its grip on user data, at least in certain strategic ways. Earlier this year, the company also made sure to shout out its self-reported ratings for the Sandra Bullock–led Bird Box and its newly acquired drama You. This increased openness could also have something to do with the curious phase in which Netflix now finds itself: its first round of high-profile original series, including House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black are either ending or will end in the near future. Other early originals, including Hemlock Grove, Marco Polo, Bloodline, Sense8, are already gone. This marks the end of an era, and Netflix knows it. More importantly, it appears the company is determined to define what that will mean for its future—particularly as more and more competitors encroach on its turf.
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