Netflix will be publishing weekly data on the number of hours viewed per title. To provide more transparency about its self-reported metrics, it has engaged independent auditors to validate its viewing figures. In the week before Netflix announced the numbers, the film Red Notice was viewed for over 148 million hours worldwide, the best debut for any movie on Netflix.
The Netflix lists are ranked by hours viewed by title over the course of a week, starting on Mondays and will be published weekly the following Tuesday.
There will be four separate top 10 lists for films and television, in English and non-English. There will also be two top 10 lists, for films and television, for over 90 countries, although these will not show the hours viewed for each title. In addition, there will be lists of the top 10 titles of all time, based on the total number of hours viewed in the first 28 days on Netflix. Netflix has also published retrospective weekly data going back to the start of July 2021.
Accountants EY have been engaged to review the metrics and Netflix will publish their report in 2022.
Pablo Perez De Rosso, who is responsible for content strategy, planning and analysis at Netflix, said that working out how to measure success is hard.
“Traditional measures like box office or share of audience (which was designed to help advertisers understand success on linear TV) aren’t relevant to most streamers, including Netflix,” he said.
“Having looked at the different options, we believe engagement as measured by hours viewed is a strong indicator of a title’s popularity, as well as overall member satisfaction, which is important for retention in subscription services.”
He recognises that hours viewed does not favour longer series and films, so Netflix will also occasionally publish special lists, such as top documentary features or reality shows.
In its first week on Netflix, the movie Red Notice was viewed for 148,720,000 hours, making it the most viewed title on the platform globally and in 94 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. The second most popular movie was Love Hard, with 58,560,000 hours, and the tenth most viewed was Jumanji: The Next Level with 6,760,000 hours.
In comparison, the most viewed movie the week before was Army of Thieves, with 71.6 million hours, which was viewed for 49.6 million hours the week before.
The most popular non-English language movie was Yara, viewed for nearly 18 million hours in a week, having been viewed for 11.6 million hours the previous week.
In what Netflix describes as television titles, Narcos: Mexico season 3 was watched for 50.3 million hours, on top of 28.2 million hours the previous week.
In the United Kingdom, the most popular series was Young Sheldon, with the first season ranking one, the second season ranking two, and the third season ranking eighth.
The number of hours viewed is not a measure of audience, as Netflix does not know how many individuals are watching any particular stream.
With 213.56 million member accounts worldwide, it is significant that a single movie, with a running time of just under two hours, was watched for 148.72 million hours. This suggests that it was watched by around a third of accounts, although Netflix does not report numbers in this way.
Originally planned for release by Universal Pictures, Netflix acquired Red Notice for distribution and it was available on the service from 12 November, a week after a limited theatrical release.