Netflix is notoriously cagey about releasing viewership numbers. Not having to compete in the Nielsen ratings with its traditional TV competitors is a real competitive advantage, which explains why it’s also cagey in how it calculates the stats it does release to the public. This historic reticence to provide information about what its subscribers are actually watching makes Netflix’s latest feature all the more surprising.
Top 10 lists are coming, the company announced earlier this week. For the first time, you’ll be able to see the most popular titles on the streamer on a ranked list, their spots earned with criterion much less vague than “Trending Now” or “Popular on Netflix.”
Netflix has been testing the feature in Mexico and the United Kingdom and “[m]embers in both countries have found them useful, so we are now rolling them out to even more [places],” Cameron Johnson, who oversees product innovation at Netflix, wrote in the blog post announcing the new feature.
The main list will be the top 10 titles in your country. It will be updated daily and, in a very Netflix move, its position on your home page will vary based on how much the algorithm thinks you will like the shows and films. So if you have a taste for the obscure, don’t expect to see the charts very high up on your screen.
But remember it’s not top 10 list but top 10 lists that are coming. In addition to the overall rankings, you’ll be able to see the top 10 most popular TV series and movies on their own separate lists when you open those sections.
The titles that are on these lists will also gain a special Top 10 badge on their cover art as you browse the platform, so you’ll know if something you’ve stumbled upon is in the zeitgeist.
All in all, it’s a welcome feature for subscribers, albeit a small step in the right direction. Hopefully there will be lists broken down by genre, location, age, gender…the possibilities are endless if the company loosens up a bit on the information it shares with the public.