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Squid Game dominates as Netflix unveils new viewership metric

Squid-Game achieved 1.6 billion hours of viewing during its first 28 days

Netflix has launched a new website that will provide weekly lists of the most popular titles on its service, both globally and on a territory-by-territory basis.

The streamer’s new Top 10 on Netflix list, set to be published every Tuesday, will be based on the number of hours that a given title has been accumulatively viewed on a global basis.

The new methodology replaces the previous model for measuring viewership, which counted the number of accounts that had watched at least two minutes of a programme in its first 28 days on Netflix.

Each week Netflix will publish four global top 10 lists, for films (English), TV (English), films (non-English) and TV (non-English). It will also publish top 10 rankings for more than 90 countries.

In addition, each season of a show will be measured separately, meaning it is possible that more than one season of a popular show could appear on the weekly top 10 list.

On the English-language film chart for the week of November 8 to 14, Red Notice, starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, topped the chart with 148.7 million hours viewed. During the same week, Squid Game pulled in 42.7 million hours, nine weeks after it was first released. Season three of Narcos: Mexico was the most-watched series of the week, with 50.3 million hours viewed.

Netflix also released data for its most-watched series ever, with Squid Game dominating everything in its path.

The South Korean drama, released on September 17, racked up 1.6 billion hours of viewing time during its first 28 days of release, according to Netflix, making it far and away the most-watched season of television ever on the service. In second place is Bridgerton season one (625 million hours), followed by Money Heist season four (619 million hours) and Stranger Things season three (582 million hours).

On the film front, Bird Box topped the all-time list with 282 million hours in its first 28 days, followed by Extraction (231 million hours) and The Irishman (215 million hours).

The new system, first revealed during its third-quarter financial report in October, comes more than a year after Netflix introduced daily top 10 lists for its most-watched content. However, these lists did not provide any data on the number of hours watched by Netflix users globally.

Netflix said the new reporting method is part of a move to be more transparent about what its membership, which currently stands at around 214 million, is watching.

In Tuesday’s announcement, the California-based company acknowledged that it has come under fire for how it chooses to report its viewership data.

“‘Nonsense, BS, cherry-picked, unaudited.’ We’ve had a lot of feedback about our metrics over the years. So this summer we went back to the drawing board and today we’re excited to launch Top10 on Netflix – a new website with weekly global and country lists of the most popular titles on our service,” it said, adding that it has engaged independent accounting firm EY to review its new metrics and conduct a report, which will be released in 2022.

“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. In addition, hours viewed mirrors the way third parties measure popularity, encompasses rewatch (a strong sign of member joy) and can be consistently measured across different companies,” Netflix said.

It did note that the new reporting metric favours longer series and films over documentary features and reality shows. To address this, Netflix said it will occasionally publish “specialty lists” highlighting, for example, the most-watched docs or reality shows, which “may appear less prominently in these lists.”

Netflix added: “This is an important step forward for Netflix, the creators we work with and our members. People want to understand what success means in a streaming world, and these lists offer the clearest answer to that question in our industry.”


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