Did 45 Million People REALLY Watch NETFLIX Film? Figure Needs Asterisk

(CNN)Netflix seems to be flying so high over the reception to its just-released psychological horror film “Bird Box” that it’s breaking a long-held tradition of staying largely mum on viewership.

The streaming service on Friday said more than 45 million “accounts” have watched the Sandra Bullock-led film in its first week of release, the “best first 7 days ever for a Netflix film,” the company boasted in a Tweet.

It’s an impressive figure, certainly, but one that also requires a “Star Wars” scroll-worth of disclaimers, qualifiers and questions — several of them immediately posed by journalists and TV industry rivals, who have been frustrated by the streaming giant’s unwillingness to divulge such information.
Central to all of it, too, is a greater conversation about transparency. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and all the rest fighting for streaming domination share a dedication to operating as though they’re immune to the numbers-driven nature of the content business.
To be fair, it’s because they sort of have been, but how much longer will that last?
Rebecca Keegan of The Hollywood Reporter questioned the value of Netflix’s data in the absence of further context.
“Does Susanne Bier’s agent use this data as leverage on her next film? How does a traditional studio considering her for a project view it?” Keegan asked on Twitter.


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