Netflix is introducing a new feature to help viewers keep up with what others are watching on the platform. The streaming service is adding a "Top 10" row to its homepage, showing what people in the same region are watching to help users keep up with the current trends. So far fans are split over the idea.
Netflix has undeniably changed the way TV and media are consumed these days, but it is still ironing out the kinks. On Monday, the company took another big leap with its announcement of the "Top 10" section. It was revealed in a blog post on Netflix's company website.
The Top 10 row will show the most-watched titles in a user's country, and will be updated every day. The picks will even be ranked, revealing which show or movie is getting the most views on Netflix on any given day.
Starting today you’ll notice something new when you go on Netflix: The Top 10 row!
The lists update daily to show what's popular in your country and are broken into three categories: Netflix overall, shows & films. Here’s an example of what they look like https://t.co/PKxTreBQuo pic.twitter.com/qaAlqCGgRn— Netflix US (@netflix) February 24, 2020
The feature will begin to permeate more of Netflix's interface as well. For example, users will be able to click on different categories on its site or app, and get a Top 10 list for that section, narrowing the field even further.
This whole thing seems to be an endeavor to allow users to watch the same things their friends, colleagues and family are watching, fostering a more ubiquitous media discussion. There have been many jokes lately about the widespread offerings of the media landscape, with people saying it would be a full-time job to keep up with every trendy show or movie.
In some ways, Netflix is playing catch-up with this idea, which has been gaining steam in the public consciousness for a while now. This season, Family Guy did one notable sketch about Netflix and other streaming services killing the "water cooler small talk" of previous generations, and it briefly went viral on Twitter.
Meanwhile, more and more TV critics have been suggesting that Netflix should reconsider its practice of dropping an entire season of its original series at a time. In December, many compared Netflix's The Witcher directly to its contemporary The Mandalorian on Disney+, noting that The Mandalorian seemed to get an advantage by being released one episode per week.
"There's a lot of shows I would like to talk about but I can't watch an entire season and pump out content in a day or two. And by then the interest will have moved onto the next binge thing," tweeted YouTuber Joe Magician at the time.
Perhaps Netflix hopes that this new list will help guide users to one decisive favorite that they can talk about with their friends. Here is what fans on Twitter have to say about it.
Hmm I'm going to see how many of netflix top 10 shows and stuff I've watched 😂😂— KNTL🖤 (@AhhDamnHer) February 19, 2020
Many fans' first reaction to hearing about Netflix's new feature was curiosity about which shows and movies are on the list right now. Some wondered whether their favorites would be there, and whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.
Netflix is finally giving a tiny peek into viewership data with a Top 10 list. It took them a long time to get comfortable with a data-driven story a la Spotify.https://t.co/N7XORAxjsJ pic.twitter.com/mNLlX2PfHH— Brennen Schlueter (@brennenschlu) February 25, 2020
Many people — particularly those with tech backgrounds — the Top 10 list was an indisputable win for Netflix. They thought it was good to see a company that is famously secretive with its viewership data finally giving users a glimpse at their metrics for once, so fans can make "data-driven" choices about what to watch.
Netflix: “Trust us... it’s our shows that are in the top 10” pic.twitter.com/MQYcjiXkuk— Zach Griffin (@zgriffin22) February 25, 2020
On the other hand, many were hesitant to trust that data. Some thought that it was suspicious to see so many Netflix original series or movies in the Top 10, and they wondered if that information could have been skewed somehow. So far, there is no evidence of tampering.
good to know you take time to do this shit but not to promote Spinning out— R🌹- ꜱᴀᴠᴇ ꜱᴘɪɴɴɪɴɢ ᴏᴜᴛ ! (@RousieforValu) February 24, 2020
Many disgruntled fans thought that instead of highlighting the shows that were already getting attention, Netflix should be putting its resources into promoting the shows that needed it. This usually came in the form of pleas for their personal Netflix original series.
The new list gave fans a chance to congratulate the cast and creators behind the shows that made it onto Netflix's Top 10. Author Joe Hill, who wrote the comics that Locke and Key is based on, celebrated with fans on Monday.
netflix has a new top 10 most watched in America chart, which i really don't recommend looking at unless you further want your soul ripped out of your body, but the new trend of SEO-ing the shit out of thumbnails is so ugly that it's turns around to mad funny pic.twitter.com/Q36LPu8zEl— Cevin Kookman (@KevinCookman) February 24, 2020
Some fans were disappointed in the Top 10 list — not in Netflix for creating it, but in the audience for what they put on it. They felt that this only showed them what they did not want to know about the general viewing population's preferences.
Netflix is adding a Top 10 list feature. But what I really want are:— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) February 24, 2020
-Always on themed channels like TV
-Short film bundles for mid-length viewing
-A nightly watercooler/zeitgeist pick https://t.co/xrxoaxumBv
Finally, everyone from experts to casual fans had other ideas for improving Netflix's interface. TechCrunch editor Josh Constine, for one, proposed three features of his own that he would like to see Netflix adopt. For now, however, the Top 10 category will have to do.
Netflix's Top 10 list launched worldwide on Monday on the service's website and various apps.