The Netflix trend list is an algorithmic mystery

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When a critically acclaimed series like “The Crown” makes it to the top ten, it’s no surprise. Other, shall we say more obscure titles, can give you a break.

Netflix rarely discloses audience data, but when contacted by CNN, a spokesperson for the streamer said the top ten list was based on actual views.

“The top ten line and the trend line are different. The trend line is personalized. The top 10 line is our only non-personalized line and it is purely based on what people are watching in the United States,” he said. explained the spokesperson. “[But] Can’t say people don’t hear about it, you know, off duty, then on and yearning to watch. “

The top ten and trends are updated every 24 hours, the spokesperson added.

Jonathan Deckter has sold several movies to Netflix that have reached the platform’s trending release list.

“I would bet Netflix, Amazon, and Apple have all of these incredibly imaginative and incredibly thoughtful algos, but the truth is, I have no idea. I like to think there is more thought process to it. [buying a movie] that someone who sees it and says, “I like that, that would work,” but maybe it doesn’t, “Deckter told CNN in a recent interview.

With so much content on the streaming giant, how does a movie or show stand out?

As president of Voltage Pictures, Deckter has seen several of the company’s number one films on Netflix, including “After”, “After We Collided” and “Dangerous Illusions”. He believes success on the platform might hinge on timing.

“It turns out that when they came out [‘Dangerous Illusions’]it was in a working window, ”Deckter said.

That window was in March 2021, when national media coverage focused on a tragic mass shooting in Atlanta and jury selection in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Viewers may have turned to the film for a getaway.

Another film distributed by Voltage is “The 2nd”, starring Ryan Phillippe. It was released in September 2020 on Netflix and has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was still ranked number one on the Netflix trending list as of December 2020.

“We have been incredibly lucky with the success our films have had on Netflix,” Deckter said.

He attributes the social media chatter to his films’ breakthrough.

“Before the pandemic, movie tracking had been around for 50 years and they got it wrong all the time. It turns out that the online consumer community is so interactive that when something is good it spreads very quickly. so many things online the chatting, it’s social media, it’s chatrooms. It’s just the way people interact today compared to what they did years ago. “

Online conversations can help even a “bad” movie gain attention – and more views.

When a movie breaks through, Deckter said Netflix had called it straight with good news. He and his employees, as well as the producers of “Deadly Illusions,” a film in which Kristin Davis plays a writer who goes mad, watched the film climb to number one on Netflix’s trending list over the course of 12 days.

“We had a lot of fun, during the week, the ten or twelve days that we climbed and stayed at the top and we were in pretty close contact,” Deckter said. “Basically we have five over the phone because that was such an amazing response that neither of us had ever counted on. “

The company celebrated the film with a tweet that read, “When did you realize ‘Deadly Illusions’ was going to go totally haywire and why was that when Kristin Davis took her new nanny bra out shopping?”

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, calls Netflix’s list of trends “one of those great mysteries” and told CNN that in reality Netflix is ​​able to use any type of media. metric he likes to create the list.

“He’s kind of a genius because it gets people talking and the list is certainly never boring,” Dergarabedian said.

He added that the list is a “headache” for moviegoers, who often wonder why so many weird, quirky, and blatantly mediocre films are in the mix.

The beauty of Netflix for subscribers is that there is an endless supply of movies and TV shows and you are already paying for a genuine assortment of content, so why not watch an eclectic mix of movies that you wouldn’t pay. maybe not to see, but can be curious to check in at home, ”he said.

Dergarabedian said he suspected bad movies could be on the list because no one is ashamed to watch a horrible movie in the privacy of their own home.

“The cloak of anonymity for home viewers is a powerful motivator to try their luck on content that could provide, perhaps, a guilty pleasure experience,” he said.


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