Peter Griffin Battles Road House After a Big Data Change Upends The Nielsen Charts

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(Welcome to my weekly streaming ratings report, the single best guide to what is popular in streaming TV and what isn’t. I’m the Entertainment Strategy Guy, a former streaming executive who now analyzes business strategy in the entertainment industry. If you were forwarded this email, please subscribe to get these insights each week.)

Last week was a long week at EntStrategyGuy HQ, but it was a great week. One of my best ever in terms of new subscribers and readers, all thanks to this week’s two articles continuing my 2023 Streaming Viewership Recap (on how many hit shows debuted last year and picking the winners and losers).

So thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ll be closing out that series this week, talking genre winners and losers, plus strategy thoughts. (And if you want these projects to go quicker, please subscribe!)

We have a double issue this week, which means there’s a lot to get to including two big streaming ratings updates. All that, plus 3 Body Problem on Netflix, Quiet on Set on Max, Roadhouse on Prime Video, competing datecdotes among recent film releases, new seasons of Is It Cake? and Gabby’s Dollhouse on Netflix, and at least seven very notable, very big TV show flops.

Let’s get right to it!

(Reminder: The streaming ratings report focuses on the U.S. market and compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, Showlabs, TV Time trend data, Samba TV household viewership, company datecdotes, and Netflix hours viewed data, Google Trends, and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points are current, Nielsen’s data covers the weeks of March 18th to March 31st.)

Data – Welcome Luminate?

This is exciting news (I wrote about it in-depth before a few weeks ago):

Over the two weeks this report covers, Luminate began releasing public data!!!

What’s my guiding principle in life? More data is better. (This isn’t quite true, as more bad data is bad. But more good data is good..)

Luminate looks to be “good data”. They publishes two top ten lists—one of original TV series and one of streaming original films—weekly, using a specific methodology. It also has “volume” metrics—think numbers, like total hours or unique viewers—in addition to rankings. (As I’ve written before, having numbers gives us magnitude in addition to direction.) 

I plan to incorporate this data into my analysis on a regular basis. That will give us four quality sources for viewership data, with three of those covering every major streamer and three providing actual numbers.

So why not debut it today? Two reasons:

  • First, I’m still a little concerned about that Variety language on exclusivity which I mentioned before. The good news is Luminate reached out to me, so I’ll sort that issue out shortly.
  • Second, a data set isn’t useful until you have enough data points to know what it means! Thus, I’m going to wait until I have eight or so weeks of data to put some data points in context.

Consider this a “Cool! We got a new data set” and I’ll update you with the cool insights in a few weeks. 

Television – A Nielsen Data Shift in the Acquired Charts…

This week, just looking at the Nielsen acquired charts from the last two weeks—thanks to my color coding, of course—will tell you Nielsen made a big change:

All of a sudden, Nielsen is tracking more TV series! Like two Seth MacFarlane animated sitcoms that made the Nielsen top ten list for the first time (American Dad! and Family Guy). There’s also Law & Order: SVU, a show has only made the charts three times in the past.

What happened? Well as Nielsen explained in their press release for this week’s ratings:

Due to business agreements which preceded the rankings, coupled with the associated technical aspects of measurement, a subset of programs have been previously unavailable for external reporting. The SCR product enhancement has addressed these areas, significantly increasing the breadth of programs reported. All affected programs fall into the acquired category, having been primarily available on Hulu and/or Peacock after airing on a given linear network….prior to this enhancement, only a very small percentage of programs would have achieved Top 10 status

My understanding is that Nielsen had technical difficulties distinguishing between streaming and linear runs of these shows that rerun constantly, and Nielsen has finally fixed the issue (with the studio’s help). On top of that, as their quote hints at, the studios didn’t agree to public disclosure for these shows, thus Nielsen couldn’t report on some of these shows. I’m glad that situation has changed!

Like Luminate’s new data, it will take a few weeks to understand the trends from this change. But here are my quick thoughts on the acquired charts from the last two weeks:

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The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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