We’ve criticized the way Netflix handles viewership data in the past, pointing out that some of the platform’s claims about the popularity of certain titles doesn’t make sense or that all of the numbers are questionable given the fact that Netflix counts watching a few minutes of a thing as watching the whole thing. Lately, though, Netflix has tried to offer more context for how it determines that information in hopes of appeasing skeptics.
Now, Netflix has presented its most explicit attempt yet to showcase a legitimate ranking of its most popular shows and movies, all through a surprisingly slick and seemingly data-driven website with some easily digestible streaming statistics. The website, Top10 On Netflix, features running lists of the most popular movies, the most popular TV shows, and the most popular non-English movies and TV shows.
It even lists which countries include a particular movie/show in their respective top 10s, allows you to bring up lists specifically for other countries (which often include things that aren’t on American Netflix), tracks how long movies/TV shows have been in the top 10, and (at least on the global chart), has archived data going back to previous weeks, and allows you to see how many hours have been spent watching something—so even if it’s just a couple of minutes per person, it could still mean that a lot of people watched those minutes.
The whole thing is still clearly a marketing tool, since the data is coming from Netflix and therefore represents information that Netflix wants you to see, but it is at least interesting to see this kind of transparency from the company. Yes, it’s good for Netflix to be able to say “look how popular Red Notice is” after Red Notice comes out, but everything that’s not on this list is presumably less popular than the things that are. You’d never catch Disney, for example, saying that any one thing on Disney+ is less popular than any other thing.