EXCLUSIVE: Documentary+, the non-fiction streaming service established by studio XTR, is to share viewership data with its filmmakers, potentially becoming the first digital platform to reveal ratings.
The move is an interesting one given the often nebulous data put out by many of the more established streamers. Netflix has started to release some data for hit titles over their first 28 days, but generally only if they do particularly or surprisingly well, while many of the others release vague statements of success.
Alongside the news that it will share data with its filmmakers, the service revealed that between January and May, its top performing title on the service was Western, a documentary about life at the border of Mexico and Texas directed by Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross, followed by Cartel Land and The Imposter.
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It will give filmmakers information including a gender identity breakdown, age range, which platform, such as Roku, where it performed best and which countries it was particularly popular.
The company said that it wanted to empower filmmakers and give them a better understanding of their audience, which it said might help their “long-term roadmaps for future productions”.
Western co-director Turner Ross said, “Doc+ is shifting the power dynamics of film ownership and we as makers of films are the ones who benefit. It’s a simple parting of the curtain that shouldn’t be revolutionary: They give a platform to our work, that platform garners an audience, we learn who our audience is. It’s a simple democratic notion of transparency. What a novel idea.”
The move comes as XTR has six films in the Tribeca Festival: Ailey, Ascension, Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres, Miracle Fishing: Kidnapped Abroad, Tigre Gente and Wake Up On Mars.
“Corporate streaming platforms use the data from films to influence their content strategies — but they keep it away from the filmmakers. We believe filmmakers should have that same access and let them do what they want with it – hopefully even use it to influence what they think about their future art,” said Bryn Mooser, Documentary+ and XTR CEO. “We are the first platform to share data with filmmakers, I hope it creates a trend for the rest to follow.”