The Total Shallowness of the Netflix "Engagement" Report

A lot of people are bending over backwards to like the so-called Engagement Report from Netflix. It's shallow, useless and a joke

Am I the only one totally underwhelmed by the just-released Netflix’ “Engagement” report? Am I the only one mystified by the fawning that this report has received from many in trade publications?


First, let’s see the information gathered: there are only four columns:

  1. Title
  2. Available Globally (75%) or Not (25%)
  3. Release date (available only for 4,855 titles or 26%)
  4. Hours viewed (93,455,200,000)


Second, let’s see what is NOT included:

  1. Series or movies? Most are evidently series, but it’s not included
  2. If a series, how many total episodes?
  3. If a series what is the viewership by episode?
  4. Genres
  5. Promoted series or not?
  6. How did series that were promoted via personalized algorithms do vs non-promoted?
  7. Are the viewing hours US only? Global? What is the distribution by country?
  8. Demographics? After all, Netflix basically knows everything about us! No data is provided on cities, zip codes, type of homes or anything like that. Netflix could even provide the TV set location if it chose to.
  9. What are the differences between heavy, medium and light viewers in terms of hours spent watching? In “regular” television, the 20% heaviest viewers accumulate about 45% of the GRPs. Is it the same for Netflix?
  10. What about delivery? I watch Netflix through Comcast but my wife watches it via Roku. How do people tend to watch?
  11. Devices? We watch Netflix on regular TV sets but my daughter watches it in her table, her boyfriend does too and at the gym I might watch on my phone.


There is a ton of just sensible information that is not included but the bottom line is that the four pieces of information included in this report are basically useless in their shallowness

Finally, a couple of interesting points

First: Netflix is driven by subscriptions. The correlation between hours watched and subscribers is 86% for the years in which I gathered subscription numbers.

Obviously, the pandemic had a huge effect on viewership

Second: Third seasons, when they happen, do well.

Bottom line: I don’t really understand what all the fawning is all about. Netflix has tons and tons and tons of information, it chose to give the industry 4 points. That’s amazingly poor.

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