Netflix to trial showing top 10 lists to UK users

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Netflix's biggest hitsImage source, Netflix
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Sex Education, Bird Box and You have been big successes for Netflix

Netflix is to start showing UK users a Top 10 list of the most popular programmes on the platform.

It will be the first time it has done this anywhere in the world.

It will be trialled for several months and show the most popular content over the previous week.

In a call to investors, company executives said they expected this would make it easier for viewers to engage in a "public conversation" about shows.

One media expert believes the lists will serve as a "promotional tool" by favouring Netflix-produced programmes.

In a letter to investors the company explained that it would release "weekly top 10 lists of the most popular content on our UK service".

However, the streaming service, which is typically tight-lipped about viewing figures, will not reveal how many people watch specific shows.

Users will only be able to infer the relative popularity of the most popular programmes to one another.

In a subsequent call, Netflix executive Greg Peters told investors that the lists should let viewers know "what are those most popular shows so they can watch and then participate in that public conversation".

'Promotional tool'

Not everybody believes that the move is solely for the benefit of viewers.

"The point of the release of this data isn't for granular understanding as to what people are actually watching on the service, it is for promotional purposes," media-watcher Tom Harrington of Enders Analysis, told the BBC.

"Given its escalating spend on original content, Netflix is always keen to push the narrative that originals are what drive the service."

Mr Harrington expects the weekly top 10 lists to favour Netflix original programmes, which often receive prominent placements on the platform after their release.

"The list will disguise what is actually watched on the service, which is predominantly acquired content. It will likely be dominated by newly-released originals, the demand for which often quickly declines soon after release." he added.

The trial is expected to start in the next two months. If the company judges it to be a success, Top 10 could be rolled out to users in other countries.