Two weeks after claiming “When They See Us” was its most-watched series in the U.S. every day since it premiered on May 31, Netflix released some new viewership data related to the show’s performance. According to a tweet from series creator Ava DuVernay posted on Tuesday evening, the streamer revealed that over 23 million accounts have watched “When They See Us” worldwide since it debuted.
Imagine believing the world doesn’t care about real stories of black people. It always made me sad. So when Netflix just shared with me that 23M+ accounts worldwide have watched #WhenTheySeeUs, I cried. Our stories matter and can move across the globe. A new truth for a new day. pic.twitter.com/4vgCo0aKR9
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) June 25, 2019
It should be noted that “number of accounts” does not equate to “total number of viewers,” and Netflix doesn’t say how many of those accounts actually completed all four episodes of the series, or how far along each account got while watching it. So without any independent verification, the streamer – notorious for being secretive about viewership numbers for its original shows and films – continues to play peekaboo with its ratings.
The company recently promised to offer more transparency. During an investors conference call in April, chief content officer Ted Sarandos spoke about the company’s new openness initiative, telling investors that they would start releasing “more specific and granular data and reporting” to different groups.
According to Sarandos, producers will receive data first, followed by subscribers, and finally press. The goal is to be “more fully transparent about what people are watching on Netflix around the world,” Sarandos said.
Neither Sarandos nor CEO Reed Hastings shared how Netflix collects its data, nor did they say explicitly what kind of information would be released; only that the company will take it “quarter by quarter.”
Previously, the company announced in December that more than 45 million accounts watched its horror movie “Bird Box” within the first seven days of its release.
Since its release, “When They See Us” has drawn near-universal acclaim. With a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the streaming giant has Emmy season hopes for the series which DuVernay co-wrote and directed.
The release of the Central Park Five-focused series even led to real-world ramifications for the Five, as well as for Linda Fairstein, the ex-Manhattan Deputy District Attorney who spurred the prosecution of the eventually exonerated young men. Fairstein was dropped by both her publisher and by her Hollywood literary agency ICM Partners.
“When They See Us” features an ensemble and recurring cast including Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Michael K. Williams, Logan Marshall-Green, Joshua Jackson, Blair Underwood, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, and Kylie Bunbury.