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To All the Metrics I’ve Loved Before: The Story of Our New Weekly “Top 10 on Netflix”

To All the Metrics I’ve Loved Before: The Story of Our New Weekly “Top 10 on Netflix”

“Nonsense”. “BS”. “Cherry Picked”. “Unaudited”. We’ve had a lot of feedback about our metrics over the years. 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.

We will publish our new weekly “Top 10 on Netflix” every Tuesday based on hours viewed from Monday to Sunday the previous week for both original and licensed titles. We’ve broken the lists down as follows: global Top 10 lists for Films (English), TV (English), Films (non-English) and TV (non-English), as well as rankings for over 90 countries. The website is currently available in English and Spanish, with more languages to come next year. 

These weekly lists are in addition to the daily country Top 10 rows we introduced on Netflix last year, which will now also be based on hours viewed. So whether you’re searching for Top 10 on Netflix or browsing directly on our service, it’s incredibly easy to see what other people are watching. 

We also know fans love to track our most popular films and shows of all time. So we will also update our overall lists, which we first published last month, as new titles become mega hits. These lists are based on the total hours viewed in a title’s first 28 days on Netflix. 

For more information about our methodology see here. Given we self-report, we’ve engaged EY—an independent accounting firm—to review our new metrics, and we will publish their report in 2022. 

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. 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. 

We recognize, however, that hours viewed does favor longer series and films. Because it’s hard to capture the nuances of different types of entertainment with one metric, we will also occasionally publish speciality lists— for example, top documentary features or reality shows, which our members love but may appear less prominently in these lists. Some people will ask why we don’t also report the number of members that finish a show or film. 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 wait for the easter egg in the credits sequence, or you rewatch one scene multiple times rather than the whole film, all that viewing should be reflected in the popularity of the title.  

This is an important step forward for Netflix, the creators we work with and our members. People want to understand what success means in a streaming world, and these lists offer the clearest answer to that question in our industry. Most of all, though, we hope our new weekly Top 10 on Netflix will help fans discover new stories and join new conversations— whether it’s understanding your friend’s new found passion for chess, the value of a won or what’s going on with all those “cool cats and kittens”.