Friday's streaming service said more than 45 million "accounts" saw the Sandra Bullock-led film in its first week of release, the "best first 7 days for a Netflix movie," the company boasted with a tweet.
It's an impressive figure, and certainly one that also requires a Star Wars set of disclaimers, qualifiers, and questions – some of which were immediately struck by journalists and TV industry rivals who were frustrated by the streaming the reluctance of the giant to divulge such information.
Central to everything is also a larger conversation about transparency. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and all others who fight for streaming dominance share the intention to act as if they are immune to the content-driven content of the content business.
To be fair, because it was somehow, but how long will that take?
Rebecca Keegan of The Hollywood Reporter questioned the value of Netflix's data because there was no other context.
Beer conducted "Bird Box".
If you give people a rare look behind the scenes, even if it is more flattering, the demands for more transparency will be renewed only by journalists reporting on the service and those who do business with it.
The flexibility of streaming at random is a challenge for anyone trying to compare it to the traditional film in terms of the audience.
For example, it would be difficult to say what the activity of 45 million accounts in traditional box office means. It is also unclear – though to assume – that the number reflects the accounts that have called the film worldwide. (Netflix is currently available in more than 190 countries.)
How Netflix qualifies exactly what counts as consideration is another question. Is the number intended for those who accidentally play the movie through an auto-play option? Does he record "viewers" who only see a few seconds or the entire movie?
And is there any way to tell which part of this audience would bother to go to the theater and buy a ticket to Bird Box? From the comfort of a Netflix budget, time and financial investments are much lower.
After all, no independent third-party sourcing is required, such as the Nielsen rating. When CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl tweeted something skeptical, the numbers were "independently of … um, Netflix" checked.
Streaming services have decided to relinquish the abundance of viewer information they have access to, but as more traditional corners of the entertainment industry are increasingly jealous of their over 45 million pairs of eyes, the blindfold may well come out.