Earlier this week, I was chatting with a television executive when the conversation segued to a frequent lament: the opacity of the industry in its evolution from linear to streaming. Not only is data still proprietary, but there is no consensus on which metrics matter, and how they matter to each service, given the particularities of users, libraries, and strategies.
The confusion plays out in all kinds of ways, but this TV executive was complaining about a practical challenge: when shopping a new project to a streamer, there’s essentially no benchmark for success or failure. Every streamer has its own greenlight process, its own strategy for increasing subscribers and lowering churn, and virtually nobody wants to share the numbers that justify these decisions.
In short, streaming is still largely a black box. And Wall Street is still figuring out which philosophies are sound and which are self-serving. As I wrote last week, for example, there’s only so much we can infer from the paltry 37 percent completion rate for Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. We also want to know the demographics of the subscribers it brought in, how many of them stayed after watching Rings, and how likely they were to stick around for Jack Ryan, too, and so on.