2 Big Ways Netflix Is Letting People Know How Popular Its TV Shows Are

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(Image credit: netflix press)

This many years into its run of producing original TV series and feature films, Netflix is still one of the entertainment industry's biggest enigmas. From high-dollar Hollywood deals to an almost entirely opaque slate of viewership data, Netflix is rarely one to divulge key statistics outside of small-scale examples. However, the streaming giant is making moves to let the outside world know how its in-house programming is doing, at least in a general sense.

Just this week, news broke about two steps Netflix is taking to be that much more transparent when it comes to the shows and movies that audiences are watching. Let's look at them both below.

Netflix Introduced A Top 10 Feature

While Netflix has long had click-through carousels noting its "Popular" and "Trending" original shows, the company whittled that distinction down to one of entertainment's purest rankings: the Top 10 list. Thankfully, the company didn't just roll with a single all-encompassing rundown, either.

Netflix subscribers who log into the service will notice several different changes. For one, there is now an overall Top 10 that lists the most popular programs of the day across both TV and features. As well, separate Top 10 rankings can be found in both the TV and the Movies tabs. So essentially, any Netflix user can now have instant access to everything that's being heavily watched on any given day. (And yes, The Office will probably be on there until it leaves the service.)

Granted, the numerical viewing data for these shows and movies won't be available, so it's technically unknown what the specific qualifications are for a show to make the list. For instance, Netflix's top TV show at the time of this writing is the bonkers reality series Love Is Blind, but it's not clear what measurements were used to determine that. Taking into account the metric Netflix supposedly uses to compile its data, the Top 10 should be viewed with one or two grains of salt.

In any case, users won't even need to look at the Top 10 to get a taste of what its entries are. All of the TV shows and movies that are ranking each day will have a special badge near the top of the image indicating its spot on the list. So for anyone wondering if Locke & Key is worth the binge, seeing that it's the #3 show in the U.S. today might help sway that choice.

The Top 10 rankings were introduced into Mexico and the UK in recent months in order for Netflix's team to test the ideal implementation, and to gauge how well it was received. Interestingly enough, the list will show up on pages depending on how relevant the programs are to the profile.

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(Image credit: netflix press)

Netflix Is Finally Starting To Share Data With Producers

Though there are certainly plenty within Netflix's audience base that would love to know hard viewership data, it makes a certain amount of sense why the company wouldn't open its metaphorical filing cabinets to over 100 million people. What has already rung strange, however, is Netflix's decision to also withhold all that super-relevant information from the creative minds that bring the shows to life.

Since its origins, Netflix execs have avoided telling TV and movie producers how their stuff is doing with viewers, which has caused some major frustrations in the past. Particularly when it comes to sudden cancellations for projects whose creators were unaware of any problems. But it appears more accepting heads are prevailing, as it was revealed during a panel at the Berlin Film Festival (via Deadline) that some performance data has been shared with the appropriate parties.

According to Rachel Eggebeen, Netflix's director of international originals:

We’ve been starting to share more data with our producers and that will absolutely continue.

One of the producers on stage during the Berlin Film Festival panel was Jantje Friese, the creator of the acclaimed German horror Dark, reportedly stated that it was "horrible" to go through releasing Season 1 without knowing one way or another how well it was actually doing. However, she added that those feelings went in the complete opposite direction once Netflix finally did grace the producers with some of the data.

Naturally, no one jumped at the chance to detail the specific forms of data that Netflix is releasing to content producers. But hopefully it's enough information to help justify and guide future decision-making behind the scenes. One can only wonder how much different some of Netflix's earliest releases would have been had the company been up front about how popular everything was.

Having recently made other adjustments that customers have clamored for, Netflix has a ton of promising content on the way soon, so be sure to check out our 2020 TV schedule and our rundown of all the movies hitting the streaming service this year.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.