netflix's most popular titles

Netflix has long been averse to releasing viewership statistics for its original titles, but the streaming giant is never reluctant to toot its own horn when it comes to “popularity.” And with the streaming field set to become more splintered than ever before in 2020 — with newcomers like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Quibi poised to threaten the current dominion held by Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu — it’s fitting for Netflix to make a show of strength with its annual “most popular” list. And the list of Netflix’s most popular titles of 2019 is a great indicator of what’s in store for us in the future: more Netflix originals, more Stranger Things, and lots of Adam Sandler taking expensive vacations with his friends.

Only one non-original title made it to the top of Netflix’s most popular releases list of 2019. Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 holds the No. 4 spot in Netflix’s top 10 most popular releases of the year, behind Murder Mystery, Stranger Things 3, and 6 Underground. It’s a vision of Netflix’s future without the benefit of some of its most-streamed titles: comfort-food shows like Friends (heading to HBO Max) and family-friendly fare from Disney (all soon to be exclusive on Disney+).

But that most popular list comes with a caveat, of course, because even as Netflix fights to keep its popularity as the most prolific streaming giant, it still can’t be totally transparent with us. According to Variety, a Netflix spokesperson said that “popularity” was not determined by the total number of viewers for a given piece of content, but by counting the total number of households to stream an individual title for at least two minutes, during the first 28 days of its release. It’s not unlike Netflix’s “efficiency metric” to determine whether a show is worth renewing.

That means that Netflix’s autoplay function could have had a heavy hand in those views. The much-hated autoplay function will automatically play trailers of Netflix’s original titles promoted on its homepage, as well as full episodes when viewers visit the details pages of titles. Netflix’s promoted movies and shows will often autoplay after a viewer has finished watching another title. While trailers on the homepage probably don’t count towards views, there are probably plenty of instances where viewers have left Netflix open for a few minutes before switching over to something else, finding themselves to be one of the statistics adding to these lists. That would explain the high placement of titles like the Michael Bay extravaganza 6 Underground, and the video-game adaptation The Witcher, both of which only hit Netflix in the past couple weeks.

See the full lists of most popular films, TV shows, and documentaries watched on Netflix below.

Top 10 Most Popular Releases of 2019

Murder Mystery
Stranger Things 3
6 Underground
The Incredibles 2
The Irishman
The Witcher
Triple Frontier
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
The Umbrella Academy
The Highwaymen

Top 10 Most Popular Movie Releases Of 2019 

Murder Mystery
6 Underground
The Incredibles 2
The Irishman
Triple Frontier
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
The Highwaymen
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2
Secret Obsession

Top 10 Most Popular Documentary Releases Of 2019

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
Our Planet
FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce
Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
Abducted in Plain Sight
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
The Family
Street Food: Volume 1
Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up

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