Following up on an announcement last month that it planned to improve transparency about its viewership, Netflix Inc. on Tuesday launched a new website tracking its most popular TV series and movies by total hours watched. The new “Netflix Top 10” site will be updated every Tuesday with the most-watched Netflix content, broken down into four categories: Films (English), Films (Non-English), TV (English) and TV (Non-English). It also lists the most popular content by country, and Netflix
said it will occasionally publish specialty lists, such as the most popular documentaries or reality shows.
“People want to understand what success means in a streaming world, and these lists offer the clearest answer to that question in our industry,” Pablo Perez De Rosso, Netflix’s vice president of content strategy, planning and analysis, said in a blog post Tuesday. The new lists are ranked by the total number of hours watched during the previous Monday through Sunday. For example, over the past week, Season 3 of “Narcos: Mexico” was the top English-language TV series, with 50.29 million hours watched, while “Squid Game” was the No. 1 non-English show, with 42.79 million hours watched. Netflix also revealed “Squid Game,” the South Korean thriller, was watched a total of 1.6 billion hours in the first 28 days after its release, more than two-and-a-half times as many as the No. 2 most-watched series, Season 1 of “Bridgerton.” While the new numbers still lack context and make comparisons with rivals nearly impossible, since no other major streaming service releases such viewing data, they should at least provide consistent data on what’s most popular on the platform — a metric that has been long sought by investors and Hollywood creators alike. “There’s no one perfect metric,” De Rosso admitted, but “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.” Netflix previously measured viewership by how many people watched at least two minutes of a particular show or movie, a metric that did not reflect how many people actually watched the whole thing. When Netflix reported third-quarter earnings in October, it announced it would shift away from the two-minute metric in favor of total hours watched. Perhaps most notable, Netflix will address criticism that it has in the past cherry-picked viewership numbers, and for the first time will allow its self-reported viewing metrics to be audited by an independent third party — Ernst & Young — which will publish a report in 2022.