Government: Streaming services should release viewing figures for BBC shows

Streaming services that host films and shows originating from the BBC and UK other public service broadcasters (PSBs) should share their viewing figures with Ofcom, the Government has said.

Services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime feature a number of shows created by British channels, including ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as the BBC.

BBC shows such as Peaky Blinders, Line Of Duty and Bodyguard are available to watch on Netflix, while ITV shows White House Farm, Marcella and Safe House are also featured on the platform.

The BBC’s hits Fleabag, The Night Manager and The Hour are among the shows available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

The Government has called on the streaming giants to disclose viewing data, agreeing with a recommendation from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

A report from the committee on the future of public service broadcasting previously said: “Streaming services should be required to share top-line viewing data — at the very least, the number of viewers — for [the] PSB content they host with Ofcom and the relevant PSBs to enable full analysis of PSB reach, and the audio-visual landscape as a whole.

The Government said in response: “We agree with the committee that there is a case for requiring streaming services to share top-line viewing data with Ofcom to assist them with their analysis and evaluation of the PSB system, and we would hope that such data could be provided on a voluntary basis in the first instance.”

Streaming services tend to be secretive about viewing figures, with Netflix only releasing selective data for their biggest hits.

Netflix and Amazon have previously argued that it would be commercially sensitive to disclose such information.