Netflix offers new glimpse into viewership: See what was most and least popular
Netflix has unveiled global midyear viewer data for all its shows, marking the first release of what the company plans to be routine reports on viewership statistics.
In the first half of 2023, Netflix reported that the political thriller, "The Night Agent", claimed the top spot as the most-watched title globally, accumulating 812.1 million hours of viewing. Following closely, "Ginny & Georgia" season 2 claimed the second spot with 665,100,000 hours watched, while the K-Drama "The Glory" secured the third position with 622,800,000 hours.
"Wednesday" enchanted audiences with her iconic dance moves, accumulating an impressive total of 507,700,000 hours. Meanwhile, "Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story" captivated viewers with its high society squabbles and romantic escapades, amassing over 503,000,000 hours of watch time.
Closing the chapter on the top 10, "You" season 4 secured its place with 440,600,000 hours, followed by the third season of the telenovela "La Reina del Sur" (429,600,000 hours, excluding global distribution). "Outer Banks" season 3 claimed its spot with 402,500,000 hours, while "Ginny & Georgia" season 1 and Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Fubar" season 1 rounded out the list with 302,100,000 hours and 266,200,000 hours, respectively.
Netflix's disclosure, the most detailed to date for any streaming service, comes in the aftermath of a prolonged struggle between Hollywood labor unions and major studios. As a result of two strikes, writers and actors secured increased compensation for their contributions to streaming, with their pay now tied, in part, to enhanced disclosure of US viewer data by platforms such as Netflix.
Presently, the company is offering a more comprehensive glimpse into viewership preferences for everyone — viewers, suppliers, and competitors alike.
"Over the last 16 years of streaming, one constant has been people asking for more viewership data," noted Netflix co-Chief Executive Officer Ted Sarandos during a call with journalists. He acknowledged that the previous lack of transparency had led to "mistrust over time" with creatives.
For an extended period, Netflix resisted revealing viewership figures, a stance adopted by other prominent streaming services as well. Initially, Hollywood's creative community welcomed the absence of Nielsen audience ratings, which traditionally determine the fate of shows on broadcast and cable television.
In recent times, writers and producers have taken issue with Netflix, contending that the platform concealed audience data to sidestep higher payments for its most successful programs. In response, the streaming giant has adopted a more transparent approach, now disclosing audience figures for select popular titles. Additionally, it provides weekly top 10 lists showcasing the most-watched movies and TV shows in both English and other languages.
Netflix publishes these lists for individual countries as well, although it doesn't specify the hours viewed. While the top 10 lists provide the public with a decent understanding of popular shows, they lack figures for the majority of titles in the extensive library.
The data disclosed on Tuesday spans more than 18,000 titles, encompassing thousands of films and shows that accrued between 50,000 and 100,000 hours of viewing.