Netflix audience data, streaming industry discourse, and the emerging realities of ‘popular’ television

Michael L. Wayne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Using the media industry studies approach, this article provides a history of the industrial discourses surrounding Netflix’s audience data. From Netflix’s entry into the streaming market in 2007 until late-2018, the company did not publicize information about viewership. During this time, executives’ public discussions of proprietary data are understood in relation to multiple organizational goals: differentiating the streaming platform from the traditional television industry, denigrating traditional television industry practices, and deflecting criticism. In late-2018, the company began selectively publishing viewership numbers for a small number of original titles to highlight the popularity of the platform’s original content. Although the company maintains its anti-transparency policies, the shift toward selective data releases has significant implications regarding Netflix’s relationship with the traditional television industry. This analysis concludes with a discussion of streaming audience data that situates in the emerging realities of ‘popular’ television in the context the medium’s broader transformations and continuities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Netflix audience data, streaming industry discourse, and the emerging realities of ‘popular’ television'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this