BREAKING NEWS : Allen County board appoints new health commissioner Full Story
SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

'Bird Box' boast could open Pandora's box for Netflix

Article Image

Netflix's "Bird Box," which was streamed by more than 45 million accounts the first week of its release, has inspired a new internet challenge.

Posted: Jan 3, 2019 11:31 AM


It's nothing new for a network to publicize its successes. But when you've flouted TV conventions, as Netflix long has, suddenly crowing about ratings -- as the streaming service did with "Bird Box," the apocalyptic movie starring Sandra Bullock -- has risked opening Pandora's box.

Media watchers have long chafed over Netflix's stubborn refusal to provide user data, insisting that such information was proprietary and irrelevant to its subscription-based business model. As a result, even those who cover Netflix and its media competitors have been left to guess at the reach of individual titles, what constitutes a "hit" by its standards and how that measures up against other more traditional entertainment sources.

Netflix had largely worn down those who have pressed for such answers -- at least, until the service boasted that "Bird Box" was the most-watched movie in its history, tweeting out that "45,037,125 Netflix accounts have already watched Bird Box — best first 7 days ever for a Netflix film!"

That claim, however, merely invited a host of related questions, among them what constituted a view by Netflix's metrics. Not surprisingly, the service appeared reluctant to provide much clarification -- seemingly caught a bit flat-footed in responding to those probing and second-guessing the numbers, given that they were unverified by any third party.

Prying open the "Bird Box" numbers also raises some questions that Netflix would clearly prefer not to deal with at the present time, starting with how its performance compares to other movies that the service has financed.

The company, for example, is in the midst of an aggressive Oscar campaign for "Roma," director Alfonso Cuaron's autobiographical, black-and-white ode to the women who raised him. Would voters like to know whether anybody beyond those on the screener circuit have seen a movie they're being asked to bestow top honors, especially in a year when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board has publicly wrestled with incorporating more popular films into the awards telecast?

For the most part, the press has been compliant in allowing Netflix to remain tight-lipped about how many people watch its offerings, even proclaiming series like "Stranger Things" and "13 Reasons Why" "hits" without much in the way of hard data -- beyond anecdotal evidence and what's cobbled together by outside entities -- to back that up.

At the same time, there has been little explanation when Netflix cancels series, leaving viewers to wonder why certain programs -- such as several of its Marvel shows -- have been dropped.

Those who favor transparency -- and not incidentally, have to make decisions about how much coverage to devote to entertainment -- surely welcome Netflix's flirtation with providing a glimpse into its inner workings, or in this case, a peek beneath its blindfold.

Given the service's track record, though, its Christmas-week break with protocol might wind up being more like Groundhog Day, with Netflix seeing the potential headaches that its claim unleashed before retreating to the comfort, safety and silence of the box that it previously occupied.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32437

Reported Deaths: 2030
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9371546
Lake3347170
Cass15867
Allen135366
St. Joseph121834
Hendricks113567
Hamilton112391
Johnson1092104
Elkhart107028
Madison58259
Porter49521
Bartholomew48634
Clark47141
LaPorte41523
Tippecanoe3803
Howard37620
Jackson3681
Delaware35936
Hancock32327
Shelby32121
Floyd31539
Boone29335
Morgan27024
Vanderburgh2532
Montgomery23317
White2288
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19521
Noble19221
Harrison18821
Dubois1852
Henry1709
Greene16824
Warrick16528
Dearborn16421
Monroe16211
Vigo1507
Lawrence14623
Miami1391
Putnam1347
Jennings1284
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1136
Franklin1068
Kosciusko971
Carroll932
Daviess8416
Marshall801
Steuben802
Wayne755
Newton7410
Wabash732
Fayette714
Jasper621
LaGrange622
Washington521
Fulton471
Jay460
Randolph453
Rush452
Jefferson421
Whitley412
Clay411
Pulaski400
Owen341
Sullivan331
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke313
Perry260
Wells260
Huntington262
Knox250
Benton250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford202
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke180
Spencer171
Posey160
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0159

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33439

Reported Deaths: 2044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5486243
Cuyahoga4137224
Marion262823
Hamilton2523131
Lucas2162233
Pickaway204635
Mahoning1367173
Summit1315160
Butler82626
Stark70091
Columbiana68250
Lorain65959
Montgomery61716
Trumbull54447
Belmont40312
Miami35130
Warren34419
Tuscarawas3264
Ashtabula31633
Portage31357
Medina31020
Delaware30213
Lake28712
Wood28045
Geauga26129
Wayne25650
Fairfield2484
Clark2316
Licking21811
Mercer2014
Allen20132
Clermont1975
Richland1893
Erie1635
Darke15619
Madison1447
Washington11819
Crawford1103
Morrow1041
Greene985
Ottawa9412
Putnam8714
Monroe7412
Sandusky7011
Hocking694
Ross672
Jefferson652
Auglaize643
Huron551
Williams521
Hancock481
Muskingum460
Union460
Clinton430
Hardin410
Shelby402
Wyandot372
Fayette370
Logan370
Fulton360
Coshocton340
Defiance332
Guernsey330
Preble311
Holmes291
Carroll293
Lawrence280
Champaign271
Brown251
Knox231
Highland191
Seneca192
Vinton191
Ashland190
Perry181
Athens181
Henry150
Scioto150
Paulding130
Jackson120
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Few Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 74°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Scattered Showers & Storms Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events