Netflix’s most watched movies list is about to change again

Netflix’s viewer numbers have always been a little murky, but the streaming giant’s new system aims to clear things up. Netflix announced Tuesday that they will track viewers based upon how long a show or movie has been viewed. The announcement was made during the Q3 earnings report. While this switch does give us a better idea of what’s popular, it also has led to an unexpectedly hilarious data table.

For years, Netflix didn’t say anything at all about how many viewers tuned into a certain show or movie. The streaming service then reported the number of people who watched 70% of a movie or show. These days it’s been counting an account “view” when a member watches just two minutes or more of a program.

Netflix says the new metric will better reflect repeat viewings than counting every account individually. The old metrics would have favored shows with lots of unique viewers. Tiger KingThe new metric favors time dedicated to a show or film like. New metric favours time dedicated to films or shows, as opposed to the old metric. 13 Reasons You Should CareThis is a good idea. Stickiness would be preferred over popularity spikes.

A table of Netflix viewer data based on its new hours viewed metric and its previous number of accounts metric

Netflix’s top-rated shows and movies based on its new metrix
Image by Netflix

While most of the titles in Netflix’s old top 10 are still present in the new one, there are a couple of very funny additions. For one thing, Martin Scorsese’s crime epic, The Irishman, a movie that wasn’t on the top 10 movies list under the old, most-accounts-watching metric, is now the third most-watched movie in Netflix history. The notoriously lengthy movie might have been just long enough to earn a place in the top five.

For his part, Scorsese has been a vocal critic of streaming services in the past — even though he keeps making movies for them. The legendary director has claimed that the deluge of content on these platforms, and even the “content” label itself, devalues the art form and buries truly great works. Maybe he’ll feel better about things now that he knows his epic got more attention than initially reported.

At the opposite extreme of the spectrum, there is another addition to this list: The Kissing Booth 2, While The Irishman’s three-and-a-half-hour runtime is likely tied to its new ranking, The Kissing Booth 2, is only two hours and 14 minutes (still pretty long), which means it’s getting a better spot thanks in large part to re-watches.

The change should help make Netflix’s numbers a little clearer in future earnings calls and announcements. Netflix still used the old system during its earnings call. It announced that South Korean hits had been added to the streaming service. Squid GameSince Sept. 17, its launch, it has been viewed by over 142 million households. It is now renowned as Squid Game the most popular series in the service’s history.

Netflix announced it will be sharing more viewer data on original movies and shows going forward. This means that we can expect even weirder numbers and finicky metrics to come in the future.

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