If you’ve been wondering what Netflix fans in the UAE have been watching this past year, we’ve got the answers.

When many people think of Netflix in 2019, especially during awards season, they probably think of movies like ‘The Irishman’ and ‘Marriage Story’ — prestigious titles with inescapable “for your consideration” ads, ecstatic reviews and social media chatter. Or they might think of shows such as ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Russian Doll.’

But according to a new ranking from Netflix, the most popular title of the year for the streaming giant’s UAE viewers was something completely different: the not-so-well-reviewed Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston crime comedy film ‘Murder Mystery.’


The same results apply for US viewers as well, in case you were wondering.

Before going any further, it’s important to define what Netflix means by “popular,” because the company has long been known for coyness when it comes to releasing viewership data for the shows and movies on its service.

For its New Year’s top 10 lists, Netflix calculated popularity based on how many people watched at least two minutes of a piece of content in its first 28 days of release, according to a person familiar with the methodology.

Netflix earlier this year said 73 million households watched ‘Murder Mystery’ in its first four weeks. This month, Netflix said ‘The Irishman’ was watched by more than 26.4 million households in its first week.

While sci-fi series ‘Stranger Things’ is second on the popularity index for its third season on Netflix in the US, in the UAE it goes to another Netflix original, the Michael Bay action film ‘6 Underground,’ which was released on the service this month and has been filmed extensively in Abu Dhabi. In third place is ‘The Irishman’, followed by the new fantasy drama, ‘The Witcher’. Rounding up the top five in the UAE is ‘Triple Frontier’.

In the non-fiction category, UAE viewers were watching ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’, followed by ‘Awake: The Million Dollar Game’ and ‘My Next Guest with David Letterman and Shah Rukh Khan’.

— With inputs from Los Angeles Times