Netflix is known nearly as well for its secrecy around how many people are actually watching its shows as it is for being the streaming service to beat as the competition heats up. Whether it’s to figure out why your favorite show was inexplicably canceled in its second season or just to help decide what’s a safe bet to watch tonight, viewership data can be helpful, and we recently got a new look into that information.
Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos, at Vox Media’s Code Conference at the Beverly Hilton today, explained that the company is looking to be more forthcoming with that data. He told journalist Kara Swisher, “We’re trying to be more transparent with the market, and with talent, with everybody,” which makes me wonder if that has anything to do with the frequent outcry over which shows, in particular, the streamer cancels before their time.
Viewership data isn’t everything, of course, as the company has often faced accusations of setting certain properties up to fail in the first place with a lack of marketing, in a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to actually finding an audience for them, and there’s something to be said for prioritizing things other than the bottom line when deciding what art gets made. Still, the company’s executives would no doubt find it easier to push back against accusations of bad decisions if the public had some idea of the data they were supposedly basing them on.
Of course, there’s also the matter of what exactly your metrics should be when measuring viewership, and Netflix is apparently partial to the number of accounts that watch at least two minutes of a show or movie within its first 28 days of release. That sounds a bit too much like Facebook’s sketchy video viewership data that led a lot of our industry off a video-fueled cliff for me, but I digress. Sarandos also presented the most popular by overall viewing time. Here’s the data you’ve been waiting for, starting with those two-minute views:
Top 10 Series
Bridgerton, 82 million accounts
Lupin: Part 1, 76 million
The Witcher: Season 1, 76 million
Sex/Life: Season 1, 67 million
Stranger Things 3, 67 million
Money Heist: Part 4, 65 million
Tiger King: Season 1, 64 million
The Queen’s Gambit, 62 million
Sweet Tooth: Season 1, 60 million
Emily in Paris: Season 1, 58 million
Top 10 Movies
Extraction, 88 million accounts
Bird Box, 89 million
Spenser Confidential, 85 million
6 Underground, 83 million
Murder Mystery, 83 million
The Old Guard, 78 million
Enola Holmes, 77 million
Project Power, 75 million
Army of the Dead, 75 million
Fatherhood, 74 million
And now, here’s the list by total minutes watched:
Top 10 Series
Bridgerton: Season 1, 625 million minutes
Money Heist: Part 4, 619 million
Stranger Things 3, 582 million
The Witcher: Season 1, 541 million
13 Reasons Why: Season 2, 496 million
13 Reasons Why: Season 1, 476 million
You: Season 2, 457 million
Stranger Things 2, 427 million
Money Heist: Part 3, 426 million
Ginny & Georgia, Season 1, 381 million
Top 10 Movies
Bird Box, 282 million minutes
Extraction, 231 million
The Irishman, 215 million
The Kissing Booth 2, 209 million
6 Underground, 205 million
Spenser Confidential, 197 million
Enola Holmes, 190 million
Army of the Dead, 187 million
The Old Guard, 186 million
Murder Mystery, 170 million
Surely, no one is surprised to see Bridgerton dominate both charts for series and Bird Box come in at or near the top of movies, nor to see Stranger Things pop up, but there are some things worth noting—first off, that Netflix’s 2-minute rule is apparently how things like Emily in Paris get made and haunt our online lives indefinitely.
However, I guess it’s not all bad when the “minutes watched” favors The Kissing Booth 2 and 13 Reasons Why, which we would definitely trade for any number of other shows Netflix has canceled. Still, it’s nice to see Money Heist show up twice in total minutes, as well as the extra boost for Stranger Things and just a general feeling of more fan favorites than things like, say, Tiger King—to be expected when we’re talking a metric more suited to dedicated watching.
If there’s anything that’s a bit disappointing about the data, it’s the predictability. Spenser Confidential is the only one that really leaves me scratching my head. A top 10 list is fine, but we could have guessed most of it. A top 25 or 50 ranking would be a lot more interesting, but it seems Netflix isn’t quite ready to give us that much insight just yet.
(via Variety, featured image: Netflix)
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