On Friday, the streaming service said that more than 45 million "accounts" had watched the film directed by Sandra Bullock during its first week of release, the "best first 7 days of all time for a Netflix movie" , boasted in a Tweet.
This is an impressive figure, but it also requires a parchment of benefits, disclaimers, qualifiers and questions – many of them being immediately posed by journalists and industry rivals. television, frustrated with the refusal disclose such information.
A bigger discussion about transparency is also at the heart of it all. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and all the others who struggle for continuous dominance share the same goal: operating as they were away from the digital nature of content commerce.
To be fair, it's because they've been, but how long will it last?
Rebecca Keegan of The Hollywood Reporter has questioned the value of Netflix's data in the absence of additional context.
Bier has directed "Bird Box".
Giving people a rare eye behind the curtain, even flattering, will only reiterate calls for greater transparency from the reporters who cover the service and those who do business with it.
The flexibility of streaming in watch-it-your-way mode presents challenges for anyone trying to make a comparison with the traditional movie in terms of audience.
It would be difficult, for example, to say how the activity of 45 million accounts is equivalent to the traditional box office. It is also unclear – although imaginable – that the figure reflects the accounts that had access to the film on a global scale. (Netflix is currently available in more than 190 countries.)
Another question is how Netflix qualifies what counts as a visualization. Does the figure represent for those who accidentally play the movie from an autoplay option? Does this connect "viewers" who only watch a few seconds or the entire movie?
And is there a way to tell which part of this audience would make the effort to go to the theater and buy a ticket for "Bird Box"? In the comfort of a Netflix household, the time and financial investments are much less.
Finally, no independent third party is involved, like the Nielsen ratings. As CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl tweeted skeptically, the numbers were "independently verified by … uh, Netflix."
Streaming services have chosen not to share the abundance of information about viewers to which they have access, but as more mainstream entertainment industry players feel more and more jealous of their 45 million eyes, the band may be loosened.