Symphony tracks ratings for streaming TV shows

A startup called Symphony has developed an independent system to track streaming video viewing on services like Netflix to supply data that Nielsen can’t and the streaming services themselves won’t provide.

The system relies on a growing sample audience, currently 15,000 people, who agree to activate a smartphone app that identifies video programs they watch by detecting a program id from the TV audio.

Symphony, which was the subject of a recent NPR story, compiled the following ratings summary:

In Original Streaming Shows, All Top 10 Spots Belong To Netflix

Ratings and viewership represent the average audience of 18-to 49-year-olds over the 35 days since a season’s premiere.

1 Orange Is The New Black, Season 4 11.52 15.9
2 Fuller House, Season 1 11.31 15.7
3 Stranger Things, Season 1 10.36 14.3
4 Making A Murderer, Season 1 9.65 13.4
5 Marvel’s Luke Cage, Season 1 8.69 12
6 Marvel’s Daredevil, Season 2 6.03 8.3
7 Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Season 1 4.52 6.3
8 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 2 4.39 6.1
9 House Of Cards, Season 4 4.1 5.7
10 F Is For Family, Season 1 3.47 4.8

— Ratings are based on the percent of a platform’s viewers who watched the program over an average minute.
— The ratings and viewership for Luke Cage are not finalized due to the program’s recent release.
Source: Symphony Advanced Media
Credit: Stephan Bisaha/NPR

NYT innovation report: Falling behind in digital

This internal New York Times innovation report from 2014 is an in-depth portrait of an institution struggling to remake its culture for the digital age. Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the publisher’s son and presumed heir apparent, was the leader of the committee that created it.

In an overview, Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton noted his impresssion that despite all of its resources, the NYT “doesn’t have the time or power to get outside of the day-to-day grind of making a newspaper to think about its future.”

The full report appears here:

News sites embrace interactive quizzes

john travolta mispronounces Idina MenzelAs news organizations get more comfortable with digital publication, they are also warming up to interactive possibilities. A spate of highly trafficked quizzes in the past few months drew notice from The New York Times, where one expert points out how “games… can depict how things work and systemic issues that underlay stories.”

Among the examples:

The’s own dialect quiz called “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk,” based on a Harvard linguistics study, was created by a news intern. It was the most-viewed feature of 2013 on recorded its highest Internet traffic day ever with How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook?, which reviews your Facebook history to deliver its verdict.’s Adele Dazeem name generator ridicules John Travolta, who mangled the introduction of singer Idina Menzel before 40 million people on the Academy Awards telecast. It was the most popular feature in Slate’s 18-year history.

Other examples abound. The Wall Street Journal contributed an SAT comparison quiz. Atlantic Media introduced a custom-made competition, Bracket Madness, to coincide with March Madness.

And likely more to come. As Joshua Benton of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Labs told the NYT, “It is the gamification of content. Take the same dynamics that lead games and social sharing to be addictive and use them in a way to connect to content.”