Netflix has made a change to the way its top 10 charts are ranked in a bid to provide a “more relatable metric.” Essentially, and in addition to the total hours viewed, Netflix also now offers an estimated number of views for its most popular movies and shows.
Netflix first started offering its top 10 rankings in early 2020 and they do help to provide some insight into what’s popular on the platform at any given time. Up until now, however, these rankings were based on the total hours viewed.
The problem with this methodology is that it doesn’t take into account runtimes. As a result, a movie or show that’s longer than another, or has more episodes, could appear to be more popular than others, based on the total number of hours streamed.
It is this problem that Netflix is now hoping to address by offering the new views metric. According to Netflix’s update, views for titles are calculated in a pretty simple way, by dividing the number of hours viewed by the total run time. These values are also rounded to 100,000.
For example, Extraction 2 managed to rack up 43 million views (88.38 million hours viewed divided by 2.07 runtime hours), while The Mother has racked up more than 123 million total views over the six weeks since its release. In terms of shows, Never Have I Ever accumulated 11.5 million views, and season 6 of Black Mirror wasn’t far behind with 11.3 million views.
While this is an improvement, it still shouldn’t be used as an approximation of viewers. For example, Netflix’s new measurement doesn’t account for multiple people watching a movie or show together, how many people watched all of a movie or every episode of a show, or whether the same person watched a movie or show more than once.
In addition to the change to ranking by views, Netflix also says it is now extending the qualifying time to 91 days (from 28 days) for its most popular lists. According to Netflix, this change was made to ensure movies and shows that gradually grow in popularity over time are properly represented and measured.