Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

The Demand for Documentaries Across Online & Social Media Platforms: Recent Highlights

In this post, we share highlights of Parrot Analytics‘ analysis of cross-platform demand for unscripted programs.

Online Measurement?

How do you measure the performance of a documentary online and in social media?

  • It’s a big question because Amazon, Netflix and other platforms don’t share performance data.
  • Social Media data is both widely dispersed and hard to evaluate.
  • And that’s a problem for the unscripted eco-system, which has enjoyed at least some access to consistent audience metrics such as Nielsen (U.S.) and BARB (UK).
  • After all, program developers and schedulers, and their funders, are shooting in the dark if they lack reliable data about the performance of comparable programs across the booming online and social media platforms.

Parrot Analytics’ TV Popularity Metric

  • Parrot Analytics developed Demand Expressions®a metric that captures cross-platform audience demand for content around the world.
  • It measures the desire, engagement and viewership of content across multiple sources.
  • Demand Expressions is weighted by importance: a stream or a download is a higher expression of demand than a passive impression or a comment.
  • It measures the total audience demand being expressed for a title, within a market, and from a multitude of sources.


  • The following charts are my highlights from Parrot’s year end reports.

  • Note: Humans of New York: The Series (#9) is a Facebook Watch original.

  • Science’s MythBusters demonstrates the lasting impact of a veteran factual format being revived by Discovery’s Science channel.

Demand for Sub-genres, 2017

Changes by Subgenre, 2016-17

Geographical Popularity Filter: Science