Last night I tried to watch an arty, independent film streamed over Amazon. It was poorly constructed and had many slow spots, so I paused it to play a few hands of hearts on the computer, then did so again later to make a phone call, then again later to fold some laundry. I never scrolled back to re-watch any scenes because there was nothing that I really wanted to see twice.
I will not write one of my weekend film recommendations for the movie because it wasn’t good enough to be worth the time. Yet a good deal of data are available for me and everyone else who has streamed the movie.
I would be interested to see a streaming site have all viewers consent to public reporting (in the aggregate I mean, not person by person) of their passively gathered data on films, e.g., how many people who started the movie stopped watching and never finished, how many had long pauses, how many re-watched etc. These are crude data relative to film reviews, but on the other hand are more representative of the audience.
You can never tell how many films a critic watched before s/he chose to write a review of one in particular, nor can you know whether the critic is a buddy of someone in the movie and is therefore over-praising it when in fact the typical viewer will hate it. Anyone can write a lavish review of their pal’s movie (or their own) on Amazon, but they couldn’t fake the reaction of say, 50,000 viewers who watched it without stopping, 10,000 of whom watched it again within the same week because they so enjoyed it.