- In its fourth-quarter report, Netflix announced that it is changing its viewing measures. Now, instead of a view counting as 70% of a title being watched, a view will mean as little as two minutes were watched.
- This comes as Netflix exceeded expected growth overseas but fell flat in the U.S. and Canada.
- The company said that the reason growth may have faltered in these regions could be related to the launches of services like Disney+ and Apple TV+.
Netflix Changes View Counts
Netflix will be changing the way it measures its views, a move that could increase counts by 35%.
In its fourth-quarter earnings letter to shareholders, the streaming giant said its current method of counting household views no longer makes sense given the content on the platform. Per its old method, the platform counted a view if an account watched “70% of a single episode of a series or of an entire film.”
Netflix, however, believes that this is no longer practical because the time lengths of its titles vary so drastically, with shows as short as 15 minutes and films over 130 minutes. Now, the service will count views based on “households (accounts) that chose to watch a given title.” They explain that if an account chose to watch a title for two minutes, this would count as a view. According to their report, those two minutes are “long enough to indicate the choice was intentional.”
They say the model is comparable to the way BBC iPlayer, the “Most Popular” section of the New York Times, and YouTube views are structured. Still, the change is dramatic. There is a significant time difference between watching two minutes of an episode of television or a feature-length film and watching 70% of that same piece of content. Netflix maintained that the change is necessary and noted the increase in views that will result from it.
“This way, short and long titles are treated equally, leveling the playing field for all types of our content including interactive content, which has no fixed length,” their letter said. “The new metric is about 35% higher on average than the prior metric.”
Netflix vs. New Streaming
This substantial change for Netflix carries even more weight with the ever-growing threat of the streaming wars, which was also noted in their shareholder letter. The platform exceeded expectations for growth overseas, however, they did not hit the mark in the United States and Canada.
In their fourth-quarter, they added 420,000 customers, despite projections anticipating them reaching 600,000. The letter says this is “probably due to our recent price changes and to US competitive launches.”
This quarter lined up with two major events when it comes to streaming: the launches of both Apple TV+ and Disney+. Compared to Apple TV+, Disney+ is seen as the larger competitor. 10 million people subscribed to the service within 24 hours of its debut. The service offered classics from the Disney vault and new content. Their Star Wars-based original series, The Mandalorian, proved to be a massive success because, as it turns out, not even God himself can compete with the magic of Baby Yoda.
While the numbers from Disney+ are not as clear yet, especially in a way to show a concrete comparison to Netflix, several studies to indicate The Mandalorian was popular to the masses. According to Parrot Analytics, in mid-November, the show was in higher demand than big Netflix hits like Stranger Things and The Crown.
In their report, though, Netflix seemed relatively unafraid of the presence of these platforms. The company was particularly proud of The Witcher, the Henry Cavill-led drama which hit screens on December 20. Their shareholder letter said the series was “tracking to be our biggest season one TV series ever.” Under their new viewer measurement method, it has hit 76 million member households in its first four weeks.
Netflix also compared The Witcher to its competitors via a Google Analytics chart showcasing the search amounts for several shows. Apple TV+’s The Morning Show and Amazon’s Jack Ryan consistently fell below the mark in comparison. The Mandalorian had a consistent amount of searches during its run, but close to The Witcher’s release date, it surges far ahead of it.
The graph, however, only represents worldwide searches. Disney+ is only available in a few countries, including the U.S. When taking a look at just searches in the U.S., The Witcher still leaps ahead after its premiere, but the overall differences are less extreme. The Mandalorian ends up being a much more regular and reliable search than The Witcher and came out with a slightly higher average.
Netflix acknowledged that these new shows and platforms do pose a threat in their report but ultimately took a strong position that they were at the top of the game.
“We have a big headstart in streaming and will work to build on that by focusing on the same thing we have focused on for the past 22 years – pleasing members,” the report said.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Variety) (The New York Times)
The Try Guys Address Removal of Ned Fulmer: “We Had No Idea This Was Going On”
The group said that by severing ties with Fulmer, it felt like they were losing a friend.
“That Is Not What We Stand For”
Digital comedy and sketch group The Try Guys posted a video on Monday night explaining the recent removal of member Ned Fulmer.
Last week, the Internet was filled with speculation that Fulmer, who is married with children, was having an affair with a staffer for The Try Guys. Fulmer confirmed the reports, claiming he had a “consensual workplace relationship.” The Try Guys quickly announced that Fulmer would no longer be working with the group as the result of an internal review.
In Monday’s video, the remaining three members, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, and Keith Habersberger, explained what led to their decision to remove Fulmer. While the trio noted there were legal issues that prevented them from sharing certain details, they wanted to be as transparent as possible.
“On Labor Day weekend, multiple fans alerted us that they had seen Ned and an employee engaging in public romantic behavior,” Habersberger explained. “We reached out to check on that employee and Ned confirmed the reports, and since confirmed that this had been going on for some time, which was obviously very shocking to us.”
He emphasized that the rest of the group “had no idea this was going on.”
After this, The Try Guys reached out to a variety of lawyers and HR professionals to make sure they handled the situation correctly.
“This is something we took very seriously,” Yang said. “We refused to sweep things under the rug. That is not who we are, and that is not what we stand for.”
Removing Fulmer From Content
They decided to immediately remove Fulmer from work activities and hired an HR rep to conduct a review. Fulmer was also withdrawn from releases pending the results of that review.
As part of this, his video section was erased, he was digitally taken out of some content, and he was not included in merch drops. The Try Guys said this was a long and tedious process.
“Honestly, I want to give major props to our editing staff for how deftly they handled that,” Kornfeld said. “There are several videos that we have deemed as fully unreleasable, you will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that is a decision that has cost us lots of money.”
“We will not be able to recoup that money,” he continued. “But it’s a decision we stand by proudly.”
The group declined to share details of the review but claimed it found that Fulmer engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of the team. Because of this, Yang, Kornfeld, and Habersberger gave written consent on Sept. 16 to ax Fulmer as a manager and employee of The Try Guys company.
The three said they were always planning to make a public statement about their decision, but were initially waiting out of respect to the families and employees involved. As online speculation arose, they chose to deal with it sooner.
“We’re losing a friend, we’re losing someone we built a company with, we have countless memories with, we just made a TV show together,” Kornfeld said. “I’m sure many of you feel the same way.”
According to the group, some upcoming videos featuring Fulmer will be edited to remove him. They said they are currently taking time to reimagine their channel.
Bruce Willis Denies Rumors He Sold His Likeness For Deepfake Use
Deepfakes face criticism from Hollywood to social media.
Willis Debunks Rumors
Actor Bruce Willis denied rumors over the weekend that he sold his likeness to the deepfake company DeepCake.
Willis agreed last year for his face to be used in a commercial for a Russian telecoms company. For this commercial, DeepCake digitally edited Willis’ face onto a Russian actor. This sparked rumors that Willis had sold the rights to his likeness for the company to use in future projects.
However, both management for Willis and DeepCake itself denied any partnership or agreement for these rights.
“Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” DeepCake said.
Agreements for the AI generation of actors have been heard of before, however. Recently, actor James Earl Jones agreed for his voice to be technologically generated for the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise.
This comes as deepfakes are facing mounting criticism online, including from prominent YouTube personality and author, Hank Green. He recently tweeted about a channel that uses similar deepfake technology and AI-voice generation to parody popular YouTube creators. He stressed his concern that while the channel in question may not be nefarious, this technology could end up being harmful.
“There are ways to do this that would be much worse, more mean spirited, and more exploitative than this,” Green said. “And I’m very worried about what that will look like, because if this is working (and allowed), people will do it.”
Among other issues, Green mentioned these videos could abuse monetization and sponsorship opportunities while exploiting someone else’s face and brand. Green even implored YouTube to evaluate its terms of service as the popularity of deepfakes rise.
See what others are saying: (BBC) (Mashable) (The Telegraph)
Twitch Faces Backlash After Booking Megan Thee Stallion At TwitchCon Amid Creator Pay Cuts
The cut in revenue share has ignited severe backlash on Twitch, where users argue pay for creators should be increased, not slashed.
Revenue Share Shake Up
Twitch users are criticizing the company for hiring artist Megan Thee Stallion to perform at TwitchCon just one week after announcing cutbacks to top creator pay.
Last week, the video and streaming platform said that starting in June of next year, some creators will receive less revenue from their subscriptions. While the standard split for subscription revenue is 50/50, some major streamers previously received a more favorable 70/30 share in premium agreement terms.
Many creators have long argued that everyone should get that 70/30 share, but Twitch took a step in the opposite direction. In the future, streamers with premium terms will only get the 70/30 slice for their first $100,000 from subscription revenue. After that, they will get bumped down to the regular 50/50 cut.
The company argued the move was necessary as the premium terms previously lacked transparency and consistency, insisting it tried to modify the policy in a way that impacted the least amount of creators. According to Twitch’s statement, 90% of streamers on standard agreements will not even be impacted by the change.
Still, this move outraged Twitch users who were furious the company was not investing more in the creators that bring so many viewers to its platform. Those frustrations were exacerbated on Wednesday when the company announced Megan Thee Stallion would make an appearance at TwitchCon, a weekend-long event set to take place in San Diego in early October.
Backlash Continues to Mount
While no details of Megan Thee Stallion’s agreement to perform have been disclosed, one can assume she charges a pretty penny to book at an event of this nature. Critics argued that if Twitch is willing to spend money on her, it should be willing to spend it on its own streamers.
“So Twitch can’t afford to pay their creators 70/30, can’t fix their media player that crashes after each ad, can’t enforce their policies so people aren’t doing inappropriate things on stream, but they can afford paying celebrities to promote their streaming site?” one person wrote.
“It’s weird that a company that just announced a bunch of budget cuts due to infrastructure costs goes out and grabs an A-list musician instead of promoting their own musicians that run on their platform,” another person claimed.
“Instead of giving your creators a cut they deserve when they do so much work, this is what you do…?” one user asked. “Maybe give your creators a better deal instead of wasting their hard earned money on things we don’t even want.”
Twitch has not responded to the outrage, but Megan Thee Stallion was not the only music act the Amazon-owned service booked for the event. Kim Petras and Meet Me at the Altar will also take the stage at TwitchCon.
The backlash comes as concerns have been mounting against Twitch for a plethora of reasons including creator pay, gambling streams, and more.
In recent months, some of the platform’s biggest names have left Twitch in favor of rival services like YouTube Gaming.