Industry News

I dug into the new Netflix “ratings” data so you don’t have to

28 November, 2021

Bad news for cinephiles: Red Notice, the critically panned art-heist caper in which Ryan Reynolds appears with Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and a bunch of C.G.I. cityscapes, is poised to overtake Sandra Bullock’s Bird Box as the most watched original film in the history of Netflix.

That’s interesting, and speaks to the persistent gap between elite consensus and popular appeal in the streaming age. But the more surprising data point, and something we wouldn’t have known had Netflix not recently begun releasing weekly Top 10 lists based on an “hours consumed” metric, is how Red Notice helped 6 Underground, another Ryan Reynolds Netflix original from 2019, net another 3.6 million household streams in the week following Red Notice’s release—or 7.77 million hours of “engagement.”

As a streaming video analyst, I spent the Thanksgiving week luxuriating in months’ worth of new Netflix data. While the service only started publishing its new lists last week, data beginning at the end of June was included.) There’s still a lot that Netflix isn’t revealing—we don’t know how many people watched 6 Underground in Egypt, for instance, although we do know it appeared in the country’s Top 10 list not long after Red Notice—but there is enough to better explain the decisions Netflix makes, from renewals to casting choices and more. For that reason, it’s valuable.

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