Netflix is changing how it measures viewer metrics by making runtime an important factor.
According to Deadline, Netflix has decided to switch up the way it ranks streaming viewership, which means there have been some major shakeups to the streamer’s Most Popular list. Namely, the fact that Wednesday overtook Stranger Things Season 4 as the most popular English-language TV series on the platform. To come to this new ranking, the streamer is now reporting average viewership for programs by counting the total hours viewed divided by the total runtime.
Looking at the runtime for Wednesday and Stranger Things Season 4, you can see how this new measurement method works in Wednesday‘s favor. The first season of Netflix‘s The Addams Family spin-off has a total runtime of six hours and 49 minutes compared to Stranger Things Season 4’s 13 hours and four minutes.
Despite this discrepancy in runtimes, the initial viewership metric would say that Wednesday was less popular even though its 1,718,800,000 hours viewed wasn’t that much less than the 1,838,000,000 viewed of Stranger Things.
Since Stranger Things Season 4 was nearly double the runtime, it makes sense that Netflix would consider Wednesday more popular. With the new measurement method, Wednesday has 252,100,000 views against Strange Things Season 4’s 140,700,000.
The streamer also expanded the measurement window from 28 days to 91 days, which will likely give films and shows some more room to prove their viewership numbers and popularity.
While there have been some big changeups in the list, Squid Game still reins supreme overall in the TV show category, with a whopping 2,205,200,000 hours viewed over eight hours and 19 minutes, leaving it with 265,200,000 “views.” As you might expect, the film categories didn’t really change since film length doesn’t vary as wildly. Looking at the changes in the TV list is where things are much more interesting.
For instance, along with Wednesday dethroning Stranger Things on the Netflix Top 10, Bridgerton Season 1 nabbed the fourth-place spot over its second season. The shows The Watcher and The Queen’s Gambit became new entrants to the list and knocked Lucifer and Inventing Anna off in the process. Dahmer: Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, meanwhile, managed to hold on to its third-place spot while the first seasons of The Witcher and The Night Manager round out the list.
Both of these changes Netflix made to its measurement methods should make things a bit fairer and overcome some of the critiques of their viewership measurements in the past. One of the most common complaints is that half-hour comedies are often considered less popular than hour-long shows since watching one episode makes half of the impact. However, since the view count is divided by run time, the streamer will now better understand how popular these shows are.
Obviously, shows like Stranger Things can still prove that they are massive hits for Netflix. These shows continue holding on to top spots despite their metrics being slightly knocked down. Hopefully, this method of measuring views will mean subscribers won’t see as many of their favorite shows canceled unceremoniously.