Since the launch of House of Cards earlier this year, surprisingly Netflix has kept quiet about the achievements of its original programming (beyond the generic PR blanket statements about overall success and the company being very happy with the number of people streaming the episodes). But, are some episodes more popular than others? Are there particular scenes that viewers keep coming back to? Netflix, of course, isn’t forthcoming to either queries.
Thankfully, another Internet presence is taking a stab at providing us with some hard information. Wikia – the company responsible for multiple online fan-built niche alternatives to Wikipedia – has created something called the WAM meter, which they say can provide answers to particular questions about Netflix shows such as House of Cards and Arrested Development.
“WAM is calculated daily,” the company’s marketing research director Nick Williams told the Hollywood Reporter. “The algorithm is based on three main pillars: Traffic, or page views; the engagement of the community, like the number of contributions and the type of content they are contributing; and thirdly, momentum and growth – how much a franchise’s community is growing and building.”
What that means is, even if hard numbers for viewership of the properties aren’t available yet, we can at least get some kind of idea of how they’re faring from the various online communities built around each show – and what community members talking about. As a proof of concept, Wikia has released information about what seems to have caught fans’ attention from the recent revival of Arrested Development.
According to information gathered from WAM, the Arrested Development audience skews toward young men, with the wiki audience for the show splitting 70 percent male to 30 percent female. Sixty-five percent of the wiki base for the show is between the ages of 18 to 34, and located in metropolitan areas; the largest geographical concentration of wiki users for the show came from New York (4.2 percent), followed by Chicago (1.9 percent), London (1.9 percent), Los Angeles (1.8 percent), and Toronto (1.4 percent).
The most discussed episode of the new season turned out to be the Gob-centric “Colony Collapse,” but Will Arnett’s character lost out when it came to the title of the most discussed character, which belonged to both Steve Holt and Lindsay Bluth Funke.
Williams sees WAM being of use to anyone who wants to take a look at how the new generation of television is faring in terms of popularity, especially in comparison to traditional, Nielsen-tracked television. “We’re sticking with the spirit of having a lot of free open information,” he explained. “[We want] to be as transparent as we can about showing how shows like Arrested Development and House of Cards stack up against other shows.”