What is the function of 'Trending' categories on streaming services.

What is the function of these categories on streaming services:

Disney – Trending
Netflix – Popular on Netflix, trending now, Top 10 movies in Australia today
Amazon prime – top movies, top tv
Stan – trending on stan, popular now

Psychologically why do we want to be watching what everyone else is? Or if not, why?

How does this work on services such as Netflix, who have their own original content? Can we trust that they aren’t bumping their own numbers?

Also, how do they know what is being watched most? Do they get these numbers anonymously or can they see what each user/profile is watching? Netflix has a category based on the user’s country, so they must be able to see at least some user info with what is being watched.

I have seen writer’s use eg. Bridgertons viewing stats in articles, where do they get these numbers?
Are they released by the streaming services or are these inferred from their places in ‘trending’ categories?

Having these lists and categories seems to guarantee that certain content will reach pop culture icon status (eg. Tiger King), which spurned trends on social media and spin-off shows.
Perhaps this is why the services have these categories, so that everyone is talking about the show/movie that can be seen exclusively through their service.

  • I think FOMO, or the fear of missing out, plays a major role in why the 'trending' section works so well. Many want to be able to connect with others and fear that if they do not they will be left behind – Alex 2 years ago

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