Netflix offers a clearer look at its top 10 rankings


Netflix’s definition of a successful show has been opaque at times, to put it mildly, but the company might have just provided some meaningful transparency. The streaming service has launched a “Top 10 on Netflix” website that shows the charting movies and TV shows on the service, both English and non-English. You’ll see both global and country-specific data to back up the rankings, including total viewing hours and the number of weeks on the chart.

You’ll also find all-time stats and the list of countries where a given title is charting. Netflix even lets you download lists in Excel or TSV formats if you crave raw data.

The initial rankings don’t provide too many surprises. The star-studded Red Notice was by far the most popular movie worldwide based on time spent, racking up 148.7 million viewing hours in its first week. Yara was the most-watched non-English title with nearly 18 million views. The latest season of Narcos: Mexico topped the English TV list with about 50.3 million hours after two weeks, and it won’t shock you to hear Squid Game dominated non-English TV with 42.8 million million hours and nine weeks in the top 10.

Yes, Netflix was aware its viewing metric favors longer-running movies and shows. It planned to “occasionally” offer specialty charts to give popular productions in certain fields (such as documentaries) their due. However, the company said it wouldn’t reveal how many people have finished a given movie or series — it believed all hours were relevant, whether you were distracted (think Netflix and chill), rewatching a favorite show or fixating on an individual scene.

The site won’t answer every question about Netflix’s rankings. You may know which shows are getting the most viewing time, but you won’t know just what it takes to get a renewal or sequel. Still, the potential effects are significant. Observers could better tell whether a title’s viewership really matches the hype, or which countries are driving demand. And while studios are likely very aware of how their releases are faring, the site might push some to ‘optimize’ their lineups to ensure consistently high rankings.

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