Meet Symphony, the Company That Tracks Netflix’s Elusive Ratings

Wired story by K.M. McFarland:

During an otherwise routine panel at the Television Critics Association Winter press tour this week, NBC research president Alan Wurtzel dropped a bombshell: He knew — or at least had an idea — how many people were watching Netflix’s original series. It was a sit-up-and-pay-attention moment. The head of research for a broadcast network was pulling back the curtain on viewership numbers that had long eluded TV reporters everywhere.

It’s no secret that television networks have long wanted alternatives to the traditional Nielsen ratings. What Wurtzel revealed was that NBC had found one — Palo Alto-based Symphony Advanced Media, which had viewership numbers for Netflix and others. It drew the data from tech that was still “in beta,” Wurtzel said, but it nonetheless showed Jessica Jones averaging 4.8 million viewers aged 18-49 while Master of None had 3.9 million adults in the same group.

This article doesn’t explain who is generating the data, and how. Who are Symphony’s users? How is their app listening to what these users are watching on TV all the time?

I don’t understand why Wired would run this story without answers to these basic questions.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016