'The Witcher' Breaks Viewership Record After Netflix Changes How It Measures a 'View'

Netflix has made it clear that its fantasy series, The Witcher, is a big hit. However, some of its popularity is due to how the streamer has changed up its viewing metrics. In a fourth-quarter earnings call, Netflix said that during its four weeks on the platform, 76 million member households watched The Witcher.

However, as explained by The Hollywood Reporter, the company previously counted a view as a member account watching at least 70 percent of one episode or 70 percent of a feature-length film. Now, it's cut that time down to as little as two minutes.

Essentially, if any user clicks on The Witcher on Netflix, that's "long enough to indicate the choice was intentional," according to a footnote in the earnings report. With these new metrics, the streamer now says The Witcher may score the platform's biggest first season ever.

"Our new methodology is similar to the BBC iPlayer in their rankings based on 'requests' for the title, 'Most Popular' articles on The New York Times, which include those who opened the articles, and YouTube view counts," the company also noted in the report. "This way, short and long titles are treated equally, leveling the playing field for all types of our content including interactive content, which has no fixed length."

The Witcher stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, a white-haired, yellow-eyed monster hunter, widely known as a war hero and urban legend. The series, which premiered on Dec. 20, is based on the work of author Andrzej Sapkowski, who first started creating the fantasy world in 1992.

While the show received some mixed reviews after its premiere, it's clearly become a popular choice for Netflix viewers, although there were repeated gripes that the show's multiple timelines were too confusing. Netflix even responded with an official timeline of the show's events to help clear things up for viewers.

Some of the show's success has been attributed to the Game of Thrones-sized hole left in the TV landscape after HBO's sword-and-sorcery epic concluded this past spring. Obviously, comparisons between the two series were all but inevitable, but Cavill has managed to keep things in perspective.

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"I think comparisons are always going to be made and it's fun," said Cavill, via ET. "It's fine when they're two ends of a spectrum in a fantasy genre. But that's like saying someone's going to be the next Tom Cruise. No one's going to be the next Tom Cruise."

The Witcher was renewed for a second season prior to its first season's debut, which is currently available to stream on Netflix.