These Are the Most Popular Shows on Netflix (and You Won’t Be Surprised by Number One)

best shows on netflix

Netflix has always been notoriously secretive when it comes to its rating system, but that is apparently changing with co-CEO and chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, saying that the company is “trying to be more transparent with talent, with the market.”

Speaking at a media conference in Los Angeles, Sarandos then shared information on the most popular shows on the streamer.

The success of each series or film was measured in two ways — the number of accounts that selected a given title in the first 28 days of release and streamed it for at least 2 minutes and the total time spent viewing by hours within the initial 28-day window. Both were engagement data Netflix has not released previously.

Unsurprisingly, the first season of Bridgerton took out the top spot, based on both the number of Netflix households and time spent viewing the Regency-era drama in the initial four-week release.

The Shonda Rhimes-produced series, which is currently in production for its second season, became Netflix’s biggest series ever in January 2021 with 82 million accounts choosing to sit down and watch the period drama.

On the film front, Extraction — which stars Chris Hemsworth was the most viewed movie in terms of households while Sandra Bullock’s Bird Box was the most-watched movie in terms of hours.

Rounding out the top five television shows which were most popular according to the number of households was Lupin, season one of The Witcher, season one of Sex/Life (which has been renewed for a second season) and season three of supernatural hit Stranger Things.

The first season of Tiger King landed just outside the top five, taking out the number seven spot with Emmy-winning The Queen’s Gambit, Sweet Tooth and Emily in Paris filling out the top ten.

When it came to the amount of time people actually spent viewing a show, Money Heist Part 4 took out second place behind Bridgerton while Stranger Things season three came third. People also had more of an attention span when it came to the first two seasons of 13 Reasons Why and the second season of You. 

Sarandos also revealed that Netflix was feeling a tad more confident when it comes to competing with rival streaming platforms such as Disney and WarnerMedia, even as they continue to lift their games.

Given that Netflix ended the second quarter with just over 209 million paid streaming subscribers worldwide, there’s probably good reason for the company to be feeling as confident as it is.

And the future is continuing to look bright for the streaming giant with the unexpected success of the high-concept Korean survival drama Squid Game on track to becoming the popular Netflix show ever (sorry Bridgerton), with it currently ranking as the number one show worldwide on the service.

“We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity,” Sarandos said.

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