Viewing data is precious to streamers, and now we're going to be let in on the numbers.
This week, the British government decided that streamers like Amazon and Netflix have to disclose streaming data for shows that originated on UK public service broadcasters. That would include the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5.
The reason behind this sudden change is that the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMSC) wants these streamers to help track the reach of PSB.
So where is the data going?
DCMSC thinks that it needs to be disclosed to both broadcasters and a media regulator known as Ofcom.
The British government said: “We agree with the Committee that there is a case for requiring streaming services to share top-line viewing data with Ofcom to assist them with their analysis and evaluation of the PSB system.”
They also added a hope that it's done “on a voluntary basis in the first instance,” which is basically them saying they don't want to have to sue for it. If these places comply, we'll get the data behind Peaky Blinders, Fleabag, and many other popular shows.
Of course, Netflix, Amazon, and Apple argued that it would be bad for their business to disclose such information, but the DCMSC disagreed, saying, “We do not believe that sharing top-line viewer data about PSB-originated content with Ofcom and the relevant the PSB [sic] would be commercially sensitive. Streaming services are an important ‘second window’ for PSB content but without viewer data, it is difficult to fully assess the reach of PSBs."
They also require streamers to run the broadcast icons of the shows before or after, but these streamers mostly already do that. So when you watch something like The End of the Fucking World, the Channel 4 logo should pop up.
What does this mean moving forward?
If the UK can make streamers show their data, then other countries are around the corner. As of right now, streamers keep data close to the chest. But knowing shows are more popular could mean streamers have to pay more for these shows. Still, if the shows on the streamer don't originate on another network, it seems like streamers can keep this data a secret.
We'll monitor this as the situation changes.
Let us know what you think in the comments.