Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra: Going Beyond Online Ratings to Determine Viewers’ True Engagement

Even 2000 years after her death, Cleopatra, a historically divisive figure, could not have imagined herself at the center of a cultural debate over a TV show’s editorial decisions. Apart from the cultural and societal backlash, Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra series currently has one of the lowest ratings on IMDB (1.1/10) and Rotten Tomatoes (20% Critics, 3% Audience), but are these rankings representative of the viewers’ level of emotional experience? 

The controversy over Cleopatra’s ethnicity appears to have influenced negative reviews more than the show’s quality. This trend of using ratings to express dissatisfaction with producers’ decisions demonstrates why online ratings are not an accurate metric for a show’s success and even less for measuring true audience engagement.

Content creators, broadcasters, and streaming platforms rely on metrics like audience ratings and minutes viewed, but they lack the means to measure viewers’ experiences and emotional engagement. That’s where Mediaprobe’s Emotional Impact Score (EIS) comes in. EIS analyzes the engagement quality of viewers while watching content.

At Mediaprobe, we have highlighted the benefits of Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) as the leading metric for measuring media content engagement. GSR has proven to be a valid and reliable metric that can predict business outcomes. Mediaprobe’s EIS leverages these characteristics to create a single metric that can be used across all media channels and formats, allowing for a higher standard of measurement of audiences’ emotional experiences and overall engagement.

Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra’s Emotional Impact Score

To understand how fair the online ratings might be, we decided to test how Episode 1 of Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra would fare in terms of Emotional Impact Score (EIS).

The first episode of Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra scored 8% lower than the Mediaprobe standard for scripted content on EIS. Furthermore, Queen Cleopatra‘s first episode scored 15% lower than Mediaprobe’s streaming content norm. 

This indicates that the episode not only did not emotionally engage audiences at the level seen on prime-time television, but it was also significantly lower than the average for streaming content in terms of emotional engagement.

This trend is also evident in post-viewing surveys, with Queen Cleopatra‘s ratings consistently falling below the norm for streaming sessions. While our panel members rated the first episode as slightly less enjoyable (-5% compared to the norm) and were 4% less likely to recommend it to family and friends, the show’s NPS score was significantly lower than the average (-22% compared to the norm).

The emotional engagement of Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra‘s first episode demonstrates that the series failed to emotionally engage its audience. The lower impact is reflected in viewers’ negative attitudes toward the show and their willingness to recommend it.

Even though our analysis shows that the show scores are below the norm when compared to competing shows, the results are not as bad as the ones the show received in both audience and critic reviews. This emphasizes the importance of content creators and broadcasters incorporating advanced metrics that allow for a more granular and objective measurement of a show’s performance.


With the ever-increasing amount of choice available in today’s media landscape, it is becoming increasingly important for broadcasters and streaming companies to measure their audience engagement accurately. Focus groups, surveys, and online ratings, for example, do not tell the whole story of how viewers feel about a particular show. The example of Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra exemplifies the gap between what declarative metrics, which are susceptible to societal biases, can and cannot assess. 

The Emotional Impact Score (EIS) can help with this. EIS is an effective way to assess a viewer’s emotional engagement in a natural setting because it is an objective metric with high sensitivity to the emotional impact of media content. With EIS, broadcasters and streaming services can not only improve their media measurement but also ensure that they are delivering content that resonates with their viewers on a deeper, emotional level.

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