Netflix has agreed to join the UK’s TV ratings agency, making it possible for the first time to see how hit shows compare to traditional TV viewing.

The streaming giant has joined independent agency the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), which means we’ll know how many people are watching the next premiere of The Crown, for example, which debuts a new series on November 9.

Until now, Netflix has had full say over the viewership data it publishes and has tended to be consistent with viewing o’clock over the weekend as a metric, not the number of people watching or households watching at any given time. Netflix also offers a regularly updated top ten to show which series are catching the attention of subscribers.

Starting November 2nd, though, we’ll have a bigger, much better idea of ​​how a Netflix show performs compared to a hit show like Line of Duty, for example. It will offer the first apples-to-apples comparison and give a better picture of the cultural impact of Netflix’s biggest shows and the impact of the social media hype train on viewership.

Netflix will be hoping that the independently verified ratings will add to the legitimacy of its output and will obviously paint the company’s original shows in a good light, compared to the other big hits on UK TV; such as Love Island or soaps on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

The initiative will also be designed to attract advertisers that Netflix is ​​courting for the arrival of its ad-supported tier in the very near future. If Netflix can show as many people engaging with its content as British TV’s biggest hits, then it can demand a similar fee from advertisers as broadcasters.

Netflix boss Reed Hastings today (via Diversity) said that “in 2019 … I welcomed the idea of ​​Netflix audiences being measured independently. We have been in touch with BARB ever since and are delighted to be committed to the reliable measurement of how people watch TV in the UK.”

BARB is the first agency of its kind to be joined by Netflix, so the eyes of the world will be on UK-based Netflix subscribers for now.

We’re about to find out how popular Netflix shows really are

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