It’s a rare thing when Netflix releases anything approaching quantifiable data. This is, after all, an organization that assures us that Mark Wahlberg’s “Spenser Confidential” was viewed in 85 million households, but also that a “view” need only last two minutes in order to be counted. By any measure, there’s always been a level of healthy skepticism when an outlet reports information impossible to verify from the outside.
All of this is why it was so exciting when the streaming behemoth announced the implementation of a new tool on the homepage: Top 10 rankings. In late February, Netflix informed users that it would now be hosting top 10 lists, not just for TV and film individually, but also for overall popularity, that would be updated daily.
Obviously, this isn’t the same as releasing raw data for the industry to go Nate Silver on, but for the first time, Netflix has provided the world with information that can, at the very least, be checked against itself.
Whether a result of pandemic-spurred boredom or single-minded obsession, the team at “Millions of Screens” (mostly Leo) spent (almost) every day in April tirelessly logging the lists for analysis. What we discovered might surprise you.
Film and TV could not look more different, with regards to the popularity of Netflix properties. In TV, Netflix is the master of its domain, never dropping below a 60 percent share of the TV Top 10. But the film side serves as something as a wasteland for the streamer. While never having a Top 10 completely void of Netflix-owned properties, the group did have 15 days in April in which its own movies made up no more than 20 percent of the film Top 10.
That said, TV is still what matters, holding the top two spots on the overall Top 10 list for most of April, give or take a week where everyone decided to rewatch “Despicable Me.” “Tiger King” and “Ozark” held on to the No. 1 and No. 2 spots (respectively) for the first half of the month, and the Jason Bateman drama never left the overall Top 10 throughout April. (Both remain high on the TV Top 10 entering May, as well.)
Along those same lines (but for less obvious reasons), “The Grinch” spent a quarter of the month in the film Top 10 for April because pandemics are confusing and the children must be entertained by whatever means necessary.
Netflix is still a place where acquired material can thrive, with Paramount Network’s 2018 miniseries “Waco,” starring Taylor Kitsch as Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, finding new life in streaming this month, as well as a strong, persistent presence for The CW’s “All-American,” a teen sports drama starring Taye Diggs that currently has two seasons available to stream.
For every moment of Top 10-inspired bafflement, check out this week’s episode of “Millions of Screens” with TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, TV Deputy Editor Ben Travers, and Creative Producer Leo Garcia. But wait, there’s more! Though still recorded from the comfort of their respective Los Angeles-area apartments, this week decided to produce the show’s first-ever video podcast, as embedded above. It’s a great opportunity to see for yourself how often the show is disrupted by animal visitors, as well as which of the three is the guiltiest face-toucher.
Tune in to see the crew dissect the deeply-misguided move to have Nicolas Cage front a scripted “Tiger King” series, followed by an extensive briefing from Ben about what’s wrong with HBO’s “Westworld,” which aired its Season 3 finale on Sunday, and why it exhausts him.
“Millions of Screens” is available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. Share your feedback with the crew on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Review the show on iTunes and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the gang address specific issues in upcoming editions of “Millions of Screens.”
This episode of “Millions of Screens” was produced by Leonardo Adrian Garcia.