Last month, Netflix made headlines when the streaming giant announced that it was finally going to release viewership statistics after years of keeping them a secret. Why has it been keeping them from the public for so long? Since streaming viewership can’t be tracked in the same ways that TV viewership can, the official viewership totals for Netflix series and films have remained unknown. Until now, that is: Netflix finally released its first top ten list ever this week, listing the top ten programs and films in several categories. Is Netflix owning up to its promises of transparency?
It appears that way, but with catch: Netflix only released the top ten lists for Netflix UK & Ireland. Still, Netflix is known to test features only in certain select markets before wider release, so it could be that Netflix is testing reactions to releasing these lists before making them available elsewhere. “It’s a test as we want to make sure this information is useful to you,” Netflix UK & Ireland said on Twitter. “So we may tweak it in the weeks ahead. eg. we’re not including kids right now. And if people don’t find it useful we’ll stop.”
Netflix UK & Ireland even said that “some of you will also see these lists on Netflix starting next week,” implying that these lists may become part of the Netflix interface or will take the form of a content ribbon. In the meantime, Netflix UK & Ireland will begin sharing the lists every Wednesday on its social media channels.
This month, Netflix UK shared the top ten programs in several categories: films, series, documentaries, reality shows, non-English language, and overall top ten. For April 2019, the overall most-watched program on Netflix in the UK and Ireland was Our Planet, a BBC series narrated by David Attenborough and produced by the same team as Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and Frozen Planet.
With greater competition around every corner, Netflix has to do what it can to stand out in the crazily crowded streaming market. Will weekly or monthly top ten lists be enough to keep Disney+ from taking the lead away? If all of the hype coming from everyone on the internet (including me) is any guess, no. I mean come on, Disney+ is making a Mandalorian series.
Try harder, Netflix, but keep the top ten lists coming.