Since the 1950s, the Neilson Rating System has been a staple of determining the popularity of certain TV shows. Originally, their ratings were determined through polls and directly contacting the audience. As technology advanced, however, the Neilson Rating System has determined their ratings through average overall viewability of the TV show. For example, Stranger Things and Game of Thrones became the most popular streaming shows in 2018 due to the number of people who viewed the show.
In 2022, however, Neilson has provided a new method of rating TV series: Bingability. Bingeability is defined by the company as “the average number of viewers who stream multiple episodes in one sitting”. In other words, the bingability category shows how many people will watch multiple episodes in a row. “Using the data of these specific viewers rather than the view count as a whole, we can deduce which shows will attract the attention of new viewers while retaining old ones”, said the company.
The rating itself will use words such as “very”. It will also describe the mood of the program ranging from “Comedy” to “Dark and Grippling”. Another means of tallying ratings includes it’s audience appeal especially towards People of Color. This will be determined by its new Dsitribution Dynamics feature which “draws loyalty from viewers on various streaming devices and platforms”.
The new “Bingeability” categories has provided concerns regarding accuracy such as skewness through runtime. For example, longing running TV shows such as The Simpsons may have a higher bingeability than shows such as “Firefly” (let’s be honest-the golden age of Simpsons is over). Furthermore, decreasing the average number of viewers may lead to an increase in bias for a specific genre. Neilson defines this rating system as “a work in progress”.
Still, with over $3 billion in revenue, the Neilson Rating System has certainty impacted our view on straming and even binge watching itself. However, since the advent of YouTube and TikTok, updates like this are practically inevitable. Our lives are becoming more controlled by the day thanks to technology and, at the end of the day, Neilson is just trying to make the best of it.