Netflix spills its top-10 shows and movies by hours watched for the first time

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Stranger Things is among the shows that a new hours-watched metric reveals are more popular than Netflix’s previous metrics indicated.

Netflix

 released top-10 rankings Monday for its most popular original shows and movies by the number of hours that people watched them in total during the first month of their release, the first time it has disclosed that kind of data for its programming. (And in about two weeks, Netflix’s breakout hit , a Korean dystopian horror series, may be the once it hits its own one month mark.)

For the last couple of years, has been more aggressive in publicizing its most popular titles, but typically its viewership stats were based on the number of accounts that viewed at least two minutes of a program — a metric sometimes criticized for not really showing how many people watched a title, just how many sampled it. The hours-watched metric also demonstrates the strength of some shows that were released before Netflix began to be consistently vocal about viewership stats, or those that were released so long ago that Netflix simply had millions fewer accounts out there to sample them than newer shows enjoy, 

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‘ third season, for example, is Netflix’s fifth most popular show by number of accounts sampling it. But by hours watched, the third season of moves up to Netflix’s No. 3 most popular original series — and its second season, which came out when Netflix had 100 million fewer subscribers than it has now, is its No. 8 top show by hours watched. 

Retro sci-fi series  is one of just three shows that show up in the hours-watched top-10 list twice. , a Spanish-language series also known as La Casa de Papel, and , a teen series that’s been criticized for its depiction of suicide, also reappear on the list of shows by most hours watched. Their reoccurrence in the rankings reflects how hours watched, as a metric, can be a better gauge of the enduring appeal of particular titles. 

But the hours-watched metric also has some drawbacks: For example, it favors movies and TV seasons that simply have longer runtimes. Three-and-a-half-hour long  suddenly appears up high in Netflix’s film top-10 list by hours watched, even though it falls far short of a top-10 ranking if you count how many accounts sampled it. 

For years, Netflix was notoriously tight-lipped about viewership. The creator of , which put Netflix’s original content efforts on the map, once said the company wouldn’t even share viewership metrics with him. But within the last two years, Netflix has grown much chattier about the popularity of its shows and movies, to help recruit talent and stoke buzz. It also added a top-trending ranking to its service, so people can see what the most popular titles streaming on Netflix in their country are on any given day. 

But Netflix’s audience stats have exasperated parts of the TV industry for being unverified, unsupported and disclosed without much accountability.

“We’re trying to be more transparent with the market, with the talent, with everybody,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said Monday at the Code conference in Los Angeles, where Netflix unveiled the new rankings. 

Netflix’s most popular shows

Netflix top-10 series by total view hours in the first 28 days: 

, season 1 — 625 million hours, part 4 — 619 million hours 3 — 582 million hours, season 1 — 541 million hours season 2 — 496 million hours, season 1 — 476 million hours, season 2 — 457 million hours 2 — 427 million hours part 3 — 426 million hours, season 1 — 381 million hours

Netflix had previously released (nearly) all the viewership stats by number of accounts that sampled them for the shows in that top-10 ranking. 

Netflix top-10 series by number of accounts that have watched at least 2 minutes in its first 28 days of release:

Bridgerton, season 1 — 82 millionLupin, part 1 — 76 millionThe Witcher, season 1 — 67 millionSex/Life, season 1 — 67 millionStranger Things 3 — 67 million (the only previously unreleased figure)Money Heist, part 4 — 65 millionTiger King, season 1 — 64 millionThe Queen’s Gambit — 62 millionSweet Tooth, season 1 — 60 millionEmily in Paris, season 1 — 58 millionNetflix’s most popular movies

For movies, Netflix top-10 movies by total view hours in the first 28 days: 

 — 282 million hours — 231 million hours — 215 million hoursThe  — 209 million hours — 205 million hours — 197 million hours — 190 million hours — 187 million hours — 186 million hours — 170 million hours

Again, Netflix had previously released all the viewership stats for movies according to their two-minute metric. 

For reference, detik Netflix top-10 films by number of accounts that have watched at least 2 minutes in its first 28 days of release:

Extraction — 99 millionBird Box — 89 millionSpenser Confidential — 85 million6 Underground — 83 millionMurder Mystery — 83 millionThe Old Guard — 78 millionEnola Holmes — 77 millionProject Power — 75 millionArmy of the Dead — 75 millionFatherhood — 74 million

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