In an effort to be more transparent about the viewership of its top series and movies, Netflix will begin releasing weekly Top 10 reports for the streamer’s original and acquired content. The charts will track total minutes viewed for Netflix’s most-watched English and non-English-language movies and TV shows.
As of today, Netflix has launched Top10.Netflix.com, a website that it will update every Tuesday based on hours titles were watched the previous Monday through Sunday. The four main global lists are film and film (non-English) and TV & TV (non-English). Last week’s winners are “Red Notice,” starring Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot (148.72 million hours viewed), true-crime Italian movie “Yara” (17.95 million hours), the third season of “Narcos: Mexico” (50.29 million hours) and the still insanely buzzy dystopic K-drama “Squid Game” (42.79 million hours).
These charts follow the streaming giant’s recent promise to be more transparent about viewership data. Netflix previously reported the number of households who watched at least two minutes of a program. The service previously highlighted its top 10 programs for subscribers in more than 90 countries but without hard numbers to provide necessary context. Netflix will also publish two Top 10 lists for films and TV for each of these countries, as well as occasional specialty lists, such as for top documentary features or reality shows.
“Figuring out how best to measure success in streaming is hard, and there’s no one perfect metric. Traditional measures like box office or share of audience (which was designed to help advertisers understand success on linear TV) aren’t relevant to most streamers, including Netflix,” Pablo Perez de Rosso, vice president of content strategy, planning and analysis at Netflix. “Having looked at the different options, we believe engagement, as measured by hours viewed, is a strong indicator of a title’s popularity, as well as overall member satisfaction, which is important for retention in subscription services.”
In the blog post Rosso penned — cheekily entitled “To All the Metrics I’ve Loved Before: The Story of Our New Weekly ‘Top 10 on Netflix’” — he notes that the streamer has received critical feedback in the past few years regarding the way Netflix has typically shared the rhyme and reason behind its most popular titles (with few tangible data points). Rosso added that although it is difficult to capture the nuances of different types of entertainment with one metric, hours viewed per title (during its first 28 days on Netflix) makes the most sense for Netflix (rather than reporting the number of members that finish a show or film, for example).
“We believe that whether you miss the end of one episode in a 10-hour series (a crying baby or Netflix and chill), or you don’t want to wait for the Easter egg in the credits sequence, or you re-watch one scene multiple times rather than the whole film, all that viewing should be reflected in the popularity of the title,” Rosso wrote. Hours-per-title can be consistently standardized across mediums and platforms. In addition, hours viewed is comparable to the way that third parties (such as Nielsen Analytics, the standard-bearer for TV ratings for decades) measures popularity and encompass rewatches. It should be noted that Nielsen’s Top 10 streaming lists, which are typically released every Thursday, distinguish between acquired and original titles, and hone in on minutes viewed per title, rather than hours.
The industry has been searching for a better yardstick for the SVOD landscape, which has become amplified during the pandemic with four new prominent new streaming platforms — HBO Max, Peacock, Discovery Plus and Paramount Plus — joining Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus as major contenders for audience share, all while Nielsen has recently come under fire from the industry watchdog group Media Ratings Council. Netflix is the first of the major streaming platforms to try to get ahead of the rating narrative and reign in some control over how they present their dominating titles.
Weekly reporting will be rounded to the nearest 10,000 to account for any fluctuations in Internet connectivity, and EY, an independent accounting firm has been contracted to review this new viewing methodology. Netflix will be publishing EY’s analysis in 2022. The company hopes that the weekly Top 10 lists will help fans discover new shows and films and join new conversations.
Each season of a series in the Top 10 TV lists will be measured separately, and all titles (whatever the genre) are eligible for lists — including whether they are Netflix originals or licensed programs. Netflix will be providing information about the number of weeks a title has been in the Top 10 that dates back to June 2021, and will also update its overall lists to help fans keep track of the streamer’s most-watched films and shows of all time.