Now that I'm home and can elaborate:
The numbers given aren't an expression of how in demand a show is, they represent what Parrot Analytics refer to as a "Demand Expression" score. They have a nice, complication equation listed on their site as well as a list of what data they pull in for it, as well as how that data is ranked
. For instance, at the top of the list are things like "monetary expressions" (actual purchases), and "active consumption" (watching the episodes, and they take torrent traffic into account there as well), and at the lower end things like "public posting", "expressing and opinion", "subscribing to updates", and "passive impressions". They don't into specific numbers of how each category is weighted. From what I've seen they also don't explain how they get a lot their data. How do they know how many people have bought an episode or subscribed to updates for instance?
Regardless, it's not actually a metric showing demand or popularity, it's an algorithm designed to express brand engagement. As far as them being used widely, I've taken a bit of a look at that also. They did a presentation for the first "Variety Innovate" summit hosted by Variety last year, and Variety has generally seemed willing to bring them up in articles since then.
CBS Studios International signed an agreement with them as well. They distribute CBS, CW, and CBS All Access shows. This happened months after Parrot Analytics announced: "‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Top Digital Original and Overall TV Show, Parrot Analytics Says" so I'm not saying they're improperly influenced to make CBS distributed shows look better, but it's possible that CBS shares more data with them, which would possibly increase the "demand expression" score for some of their shows.
So who else is using them, and how else is their name getting out there? Well the MAOS news is a good example. Entertainment news site Screen Rant provided the initial article which was then linked to by dozens of other news sites, probably in part because of the click-bait headline "Agents of SHIELD Is More Popular Than Any Marvel Netflix Show". Now as discussed, Parrot Analytics is not actually measuring popularity, but what prompted Screen Rant to run this article in the first place? The first paragraph:
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. truly is Marvel's flagship TV series: the show's brand is actually stronger than any of the Marvel Netflix series. That's according to data provided exclusively to Screen Rant by Parrot Analytics, a data science company that measures world-wide audience demand for TV content.
So in this case Parrot Analytics went to a site and provided them with the data, presumably because it helps get them publicity (in this case it worked). They've also partnered with another site called Media Play News who post up the weekly numbers which sometimes seem to get linked to by other sites.
Again, this just happened to be something I had already been looking into because I had seen similar articles recently referencing Parrot Analytics. Despite my snark, my point was mostly "stop for a second, move past the headline and see what the data actually is and what it's saying". Yes, Nielsen ratings are increasingly useless, but that doesn't mean we need to attach ourselves to the first new metric that comes along with a shit-ton of marketing buzzwords.