The fifth season of Spanish-language crime thriller Money Heist captured another 148 million viewing hours globally on Netflix for the week of December 6-12, making it the top show of any kind -- English, non-English, TV series or movie -- on Netflix last week.
Much has been made in recent months about Netflix's local-language programming, with the first season of Squid Game setting the mark as the most popular show ever after 28 days back in October.
But with Netflix completing the first full months of releasing comprehensive metrics on its website, we can now see that cumulatively across its five seasons, Money Heist has significantly more viewing than any other movie or show that's ever been on the platform.
In fact, Seasons 3-5 each rank on the all time first-28-days leaders for non-English shows. Combined, these three seasons generated more than 2 billion hours of viewing in their first 28 days on the platform vs. 1.65 billion for Squid Game.
Sure, that's a bit apples-vs.-oranges, in that Squid Game has only had one nine-episode season to gather its total. But until the Korean drama surpasses it, Money Heist ranks No. 1.
Next TV is changing its source for reporting weekly audience metrics in streaming video starting this week. We're moving on from Nielsen's weekly performance rankings of the major U.S. SVOD services, which we have been publishing regularly since February. In fact, that link will take you to a comprehensive list of weekly rankings dating back almost to the beginning of 2021.
For one reason, Netflix has 74 million U.S. subscribers, which is nearly double what its SVOD competitors have in the U.S. Since Netflix has so much larger viewing base to draw from, Nielsen's rankings of original series, acquired series and movies end up being mostly about Netflix, anyway.
Secondly, Nielsen published audience performance data dating back a month. Netflix's latest data dates back to as recently as Sunday night.
Thirdly, while Nielsen has a definite advantage of being a third-party source, we didn't find them to be very reliable. We're still waiting on last week's data, which was supposed to arrive last Thursday.
We'll do it this way until someone else comes along with a better way to regularly measure the opaque world of video streaming audience performance.
Here, we'll start with Netflix's rankings of non-English TV shows. Not only did the final five episodes of Money Heist Season 5, which were posted on Netflix on Dec. 3, generate huge viewing for the week of Dec. 6-12, a significant number of new viewers seem to be discovering the show, as evidenced by Seasons 1&2 (or, "Parts" 1&2, as Netflix refers to them) appearing in non-English TV top 10 for the week.
On the English-language front, Netflix original film Unforgivable, featuring an unblindfolded Sandra Bullock as a violent ex con seeking redemption, garnered nearly 85.9 million viewing hours. The movie debuted on Netflix on Friday, so Unforgivable was perhaps the biggest weekend viewing draw in America next to NFL football over the weekend.
Among English-language TV series, the third season of Netflix's Lost in Space generated just over 35.8 million viewing hours to occupy the No. 1 slot ... at least until Season 2 of The Witcher arrives this week.
Finally, among non-English-language movies, Thai horror film The Whole Truth generated more than 10.5 million viewing hours to the unseat incumbent champion, French comedy Spoiled Brats.
Our Previous Netflix 'Global Top 10' Summaries:
Nov. 29 - Dec. 5: Jane Campion Western-Romance Film 'Power of the Dog' Rides to No. 1
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!