Netflix has taken an important step toward lifting a veil of secrecy over its ratings with the publication of a weekly report detailing the popularity of its most in-demand programs.
Each Tuesday the streaming giant will publish the total viewing hours accumulated around the world for hits such as Squid Game and Stranger Things, presenting the data as a top 10 list via a dedicated website and breaking down film and TV categories between native English and non-English shows.
This arrangement makes no distinction between original and acquired content, and also groups TV shows by season, disadvantaging longer-running series where viewers are spread more thinly between seasons.
The inaugural top 10 films list highlights the importance of star power to draw in viewers, with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Ryan Reynolds attracting over 148m hours of view time between them for Red Notice, way ahead of second-placed film Lovehard on 58m hours. On the TV side Narcos: Mexico dethroned Squid Game with 50m cumulative hours for the week, outgunning the South Korean viral hit, which generated just 42m hours despite being non-English.
While a far cry from the in-depth viewer tallies provided by Nielsen for linear TV, which has had its own accuracy difficulties, the move represents a significant shift for the on-demand provider, which has hitherto kept a tight lid on its performance.
Explaining the change in strategy, Netflix vice-president of content strategy, planning and analysis Pablo Perez De Rosso wrote in a blog post: “People want to understand what success means in a streaming world, and these lists offer the clearest answer to that question in our industry.”
Heading off criticism that self-reported metrics can be massaged, Netflix has asked accounting firm EY to independently verify its metrics, although its report will not be available until next year.
All figures are drawn from the previous Monday through Sunday period, with hours rounded to the nearest 10,000.