Netflix's New Feature Shows You Its 10 Most Popular Movies & TV Shows
Here at Thrillist, welovealist, so it's always fun to see other websites try out the format for themselves. Netflix recently started rolling out a new feature, which ranks what movies and TV shows streaming on the platform are the most popular in their home country every day. But how does Netflix come up with these numbers? And why exactly do they think we… need this?
When you log in to your account and go to your homepage, you immediately get the autoplaying trailer for whatever pops up for you right at the top of your screen (you can actually turn off this feature now, by the way). For me, today, that's the trailer for the movie Horse Girl, which I haven't had a chance to watch yet but my coworker says it's weird (but, like, good-weird). If you keep scrolling, you find your Continue Watching tab, your My List tab, and maybe another trailer before you get to the new tab, which, for me, since I'm an American using Netflix in America, is called Top 10 in the U.S. Today.
Here is what mine looks like at time of publication:
Now, I don't consider myself an expert on what the Joe Lunchpails of the world enjoy watching on TV, but even so, this list seems odd. It's almost entirely comprised of Netflix Originals, which isn't entirely suspicious, since Netflix would logically be the best place and only to watch Netflix Originals. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, the new docuseries about the 2013 murder of a young boy, is number one, which tracks, since tons of people love true crime. And then there's the finale of Love Is Blind, Netflix's new batshit reality dating show, which is a recent addition, and the new season of Altered Carbon and the debut of I Am Not Okay With This, both recently added as well.
But then, apparently, the third-most-watched content on the service owned by millions of people worldwide is allegedly The Angry Birds Movie 2. It's not even the first Angry Birds Movie, or the Angry Birds children's series, which is also available, and it's not even a recent addition this month. Do the children just… love… The Angry Birds Movie 2….? Is this because of some Tik Tok meme I don't know about? What's going on here?
The rest of the list, which includes newly added YA drama All the Bright Places and Pete Davidson's new comedy special, looks pretty normal, if we accept that whatever is newest on the site is what's most popular. As with most other things having to do with Netflix, since they don't publicly release viewership numbers and their new system for what counts as a "view" is pretty sketchy, we pretty much just have to take their word for it. Recently, the company revealed that their new metric for counting how many people watched something on the service was 2 minutes of screentime -- meaning if you watched something for 2 minutes, which includes when you go to the page for a movie or an episode of a TV show and it starts autoplaying for you -- Netflix logs that as one full view. (Before this change, a user had to get through 70 percent of something for it to count as a view.)
Who exactly is this Top 10 thing supposed to help? People love watching what's popular, sure, but is that all we look for when we go home at the end of the day ready to consume some content? Netflix already has a tab for that: Trending Now shows you which shows and movies are the hottest right at that second. And if this list just ends up being a rundown of what's new, isn't that what the "Latest" drop-down menu already does? Who is this Top 10 thing for?
Netflix's media center explains that the menu "will be updated every day and the position of the row will vary depending on how relevant the shows and films are to you," so you may not even see it right away if you're just scrolling around. But even if you don't, the Top 10 list will appear in the Movies and TV tab as well, and the most popular shows and movies will be given a little red badge to designate their popularity on the site, not dissimilar from the badge interactive pieces, like Bandersnatch, get tagged with. As of March 1, Outbreak is now available to stream, and given the current state of world health, I wouldn't be surprised to see that pop up in my Top 10 pretty soon.
We've reached out to Netflix for clarification about the Top 10 feature and will update this story if we hear back.
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