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Netflix signs up to ratings body BARB

Netflix has signed up to the TV ratings agency Barb, which means its audiences will be measured by an external, independent body for the first time.

The move makes Barb the first industry-owned ratings service in the world that Netflix has joined.

Previously, the streaming giant has only released snapshots of its viewing data, highlighting the success of its most popular shows.

Barb will begin reporting Netflix’s viewing figures from November.

It is a significant move for the streamer, and will see the data being used by advertisers, competitors and journalists to ascertain the success or failure of Netflix properties.

Barb, which stands for Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, compiles audience measurement and TV ratings in the UK.

The agency will report Netflix’s ratings in the same way it reports viewing for more than 300 other subscribing broadcast channels.

The networks currently covered by Barb include mainstream services such as the BBC and ITV to smaller channels such as Dave and E4.

The news comes as Netflix reportedly prepares to launch an ad-supported tier for its streaming platform.

Its co-chief executive Reed Hastings said: “Back in 2019, at the RTS conference in Cambridge, I welcomed the idea of Netflix audiences being measured independently.

“We’ve kept in touch with Barb since then and are pleased to make a commitment to its trusted measurement of how people watch television in the UK.”

Justin Sampson, chief executive of Barb, said: “Our audience measurement continuously adapts to accommodate the new platforms and devices that are being used by people to watch their favourite television shows.

“We took a big step forward last year when we started reporting audiences to streaming services.

“Netflix’s commitment to Barb sends a clear signal that what we’re doing is valuable to new and established players in the market.”

Netflix viewing data will be available to all Barb subscribers from the morning of 2 November through its existing analysis software and other systems.

The timing coincides with the launch of season five of royal drama The Crown, which could make a significant impact in Barb’s ratings during the streamer’s first weeks of inclusion. BBC

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