Does Netflix really consider a two-minute watch as credible viewership?
American streaming giant Netflix famously reveals the list of top-viewed titles every year, along with a total count of people who have watched their originals all over the globe. For instance, in 2019, comedy thriller Murder Mystery, starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, was on the top of the year-ender list; when the film came out, Netflix had reported that 30.9 million accounts had viewed the movie in just the first three days, giving it the biggest opening weekend for one of its originals. The other titles which made it to Netflix’s ‘Most Watched Movies’ list are the latest Michael Bay outing 6 Underground, featuring Ryan Reynolds, Incredibles 2 and of course, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.
But this annual round-up has not been measured like most of Netflix’s reports; for its quarterly streaming numbers, the company usually considers a movie or an episode to be ‘viewed’ only if a subscriber has watched 70 % of the content. Whereas, for its year-ender list, an account only needs to watch a film or a show for two minutes for it to be counted as credible viewership. “Lists are ranked based on accounts which choose to watch two minutes or more of a title during its first 28 days in 2019,” Netflix revealed on Twitter.
Twitter users unanimously agree that this metric is not a reliable source of data, especially as a film or show’s title sequence itself could take up more than two minutes. In fact, a show can also run on auto-play for two minutes. Netflix also released year-ender lists for Most Popular Series Released in 2019, Most Popular Standup Releases, Most Popular Documentary Releases, Most Popular Non-fiction Releases etc, all based on the same metric.