Netflix To Use Hours-Watched Metric for New Top 10 Lists

Narcos Netflix
'Narcos: Mexico' was the most popular show in the U.S., according to Netflix's new rankings (Image credit: Netflix)

Admitting that some of its metrics have been questioned, if not questionable, Netflix announced that it will be launching a "Top 10 on Netflix" website based on hours viewed.

There will be a global Top 10 list, plus Top 10 lists for individual countries.

For the week of Nov. 8 through Nov. 14, the top shows in the U.S. were Narcos: Mexico season three, Big Mouth season five and You season three.

The top films in the U.S. were Red Notice, Love Hard and The Harder They Fall.

In a blog post Netflix (which had previewed the metric reporting change in October) said it was offering the lists so that fans can see what’s popular on the streaming service.

Also: Netflix Cuts Out the Middleman, Ramps Up Digital Editorial Staff to 'Tell Its Own Stories'

But the lists will also be interesting to people in the business, whether they be streaming competitors or traditional broadcasters or programming producers and distributors.

Netflix’s decision to use hours viewed is also interesting because it's a metric used by ad supported services.

In the past, Netflix has released viewing data based on households that watched two minutes of a show or movie. 

In the blog post, Pablo Perez De Rosso, VP of content strategy, planning and analysis at Netflix admitted that some observers were taking its numbers with a grain of salt to say the least.

“‘Nonsense.’ ‘BS.’ ‘Cherry Picked.’ ‘Unaudited.’ We’ve had a lot of feedback about our metrics over the years,” Perez De Rosso said. “So this summer we went back to the drawing board, and today we’re excited to launch ‘Top10 on Netflix’—a new website with weekly global and country lists of the most popular titles on our service.”

“Figuring out how best to measure success in streaming is hard, and there’s no one perfect metric,” he said, noting that some of the traditional measures were designed to help advertisers.

“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 addition, hours viewed mirrors the way third parties measure popularity, encompasses rewatch (a strong sign of member joy) and can be consistently measured across different companies,” Perez De Rosso said.

He said the lists will be published on Tuesdays. Nielsen publishes its streaming ratings -- also based on hours viewed -- on Thursdays.

Netflix also provided lists of its most popular films and TV shows of all time, based on the new hours viewed over 28 days metric.

The most-viewed TV series in English was Bridgerton season one with 624 million hours. That was followed by Stranger Things and Witcher.

The most popular non-English TV show was Squid Game season one with 1.6 billion hours. It was followed by seasons four, three and five of Money Heist.

The top English-language movie on Netflix was Bird Box with 282 million hours viewed, followed by Extraction and The Irishman.

The most popular non-English language film was Blood Red Sky with 111 million hours. That was followed by The Platform and Below Zero. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.