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I've developed a web app for managing and logging watched movies plus some other data like ratings, reviews, etc, and one of the panels shows how many times the user has watched a given movie. I've named the field as view count, and now I'm wondering if this is grammatically correct, since we generally use verbs like watch and see while referring to movies and TV shows.

*I know I could "simply" change it to something like watched 'X' times, but I just want to know if this is OK so I can leave my code untouched.

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  • I would prefer times viewed. The expression view count sounds as if it could refer to short peeks, rather than complete viewings. Feb 13, 2022 at 7:06
  • View can mean watch (8), but it's rather formal. If you view a television programme, video, or film, you watch it. Feb 13, 2022 at 9:46
  • Other options: times watched, times viewed, seen (can be either a boolean variable or an numeric one), count (the context and the abstraction may have already defined the "view" part), view count, watch count (watch is the act or an instance of watching) Feb 13, 2022 at 9:47
  • @AndrewTobilko watch count sounds good, I think it may work even better indeed!
    – Alex Braga
    Feb 13, 2022 at 19:03

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"View", in the context of watching TV or movies, is widely used, but generally in a 'formal' context. In general speech, most British English speakers would say "I watched a movie" ("I saw a movie" is more American), and not "I viewed a movie", which sounds strangely formal.

However, we commonly use expressions such as "viewing habits", or a "programme of viewing", and so "view count", as you suggest, sounds perfectly idiomatic.

That said, I'm aware that there are differing definitions of what constitutes "watching" or "viewing" a movie in connection with streaming services. Some require a viewer to watch at least half the length of a video before counting them as having viewed it. Some report on minutes watched, meaning a viewer that tries 3 different films and gives up on them all after 20 minutes still contributes 60 minutes of viewing to statistics. On social media, Twitter would count an "impression" for a tweet with an embedded video even if the user scrolled past it without playing it. Whatever term you choose either needs to reflect what it really means, or define it in 'small print'.

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  • Maybe I've thought about YouTube when I was defining the terms, since they use views to count how many times a given video is played. Based on what you said I think it's OK to leave it like that in the sense that the context makes clear on what I meant, but since you've mentioned it's rather formal, do you think that renaming the field to watch count would be better?
    – Alex Braga
    Feb 13, 2022 at 19:05

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