The Writers Guild Association and the AMPTP came to an agreement, ending more than 150 days of strike. One provision of this new contract is the inclusion of a performance bonus for original streaming films and series and that will be the focus of this article. Which 2023 Netflix US shows and films would have got it?
On September 26th, a tentative agreement between the union and the collective of streamers and distributors (including Netflix) was reached. A host of agreements were met, including increased salaries and a deal on the writer’s room minimum staffing but the most important for this article is the new transparency on viewership and the viewership-based streaming bonus.
How is this performance bonus calculated?
Per the agreement, a streaming original series or film that managed to get the equivalent in CVEs (or views as Netflix refers to it) of 20% of the US subscribers base of a streaming service in the first 91 days of release is getting the performance bonus, starting from January 1st, 2024.
The WGA and the AMPTP agreed on the Complete Viewings Equivalents we have been using on What’s on Netflix for the past 15 months, and the more difficult aspect of this performance bonus is to find out how many US subscribers Netflix has.
At the end of the last financial quarter, Netflix had 75.5 million subs in the UCAN region (comprising of the US and Canada), but we don’t know how much is it for the US alone. The general rule of thumb in this case is to say that Canada is 10% the size of the US, so that would leave us with 68M US subs for Netflix, give or take. And 20% of that is 13.6M CVEs. That’s the goal, the magic number to get after 91 days. But which shows managed that in 2023?
Which US Netflix shows released in 2023 would have got the performance bonus?
To determine this, we will use Nielsen’s publicly available top 10 numbers, the main provider of streaming ratings in the US. Now, these numbers come with some caveats: Nielsen does not offer the distinction between seasons, which means that for returning shows, the viewings of all the available seasons are counted into one number.
In addition, in the wording of the contract, it’s not clear how the performance bonus applies to returning series. Is it on a season-by-season base or the whole show? The second caveat is that Nielsen only counts viewing on connected TVs so far, and that’s not the only way to watch Netflix, so we will need to account for that.
All this being said, here are the Netflix US series of 2023 that would have got the performance bonus:
The Night Agent is the biggest new Netflix series of 2023, and it passed the threshold two weeks after release.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story would have got it, too, besting the threshold after three weeks. Per Nielsen’s numbers, Beef and That 90s Show would finally be among the lucky series.
FUBAR and The Diplomat are just under the threshold as of the current numbers, but again, if we consider viewing happening on mobile and computers, I’m pretty sure they passed that threshold, too.
Painkiller is trending above The Diplomat, so it is very possible it would have gotten the bonus too.
Now, there are some series that would not have got it: the limited series Florida Man, comedy Unstable with Rob Lowe, Survival of the Thickest with Michelle Buteau, XO, Kitty, and Glamorous with Kim Cattrall. We missed some data for Kaleidoscope and Freeridge, but it’s safe to say both would not have managed to get the performance bonus.
It is too early to tell for One Piece since it just debuted in Nielsen’s charts, but with 2.9M CVEs after four days, it’s trending a bit under The Diplomat and FUBAR, so it might not make the cut.
In conclusion, out of the 14 new Netflix series released between January and August 2023, 7 would have got the performance bonus per my estimations, which is around 50%.
Which US Netflix films released in 2023 would have got the performance bonus?
When it comes to films, the threshold seems a bit more difficult to reach, but at least 8 US Netflix films passed it in their first 14 days according to Nielsen stats.
I will add assume You Are So Not Invited to My Bat-Mitzvah, for which we have incomplete numbers, but that started great in Nielsen’s charts:
For the rest of them, it’s a bit harder to figure out because of the lack of data over such a long period. The Pale Blue Eye and They Cloned Tyrone would probably have got it. For Chupa, Happiness for Beginners and Dog Gone, it’s up in the air. But one thing’s for sure: The Perfect Find, the Mighty Power Rangers special, A Tourist’s Guide to Love and Choose Love would not have got it.
Netflix animated films of 2023 look to have struck out and, therefore not eligible for the new bonus. The Monkey King, Nimona, and The Magician’s Elephant did not manage to break out in Nielsen’s charts.
In conclusion, out of the 22 US Netflix films released between January and August 2023, 9 definitely made the cut, five probably did, and seven did not.
That’s your overview of this new performance-based bonus, and we will make sure to keep you posted starting from January 1st, 2024, of which shows and films are on track to get them in our weekly Top 10 streaming reports.