Netflix Releases Viewership Data for the First Time

Netflix revealed the viewership figures, presenting a report covering all of its shows and movies. This departure from the company’s longstanding practice of keeping such data confidential. The release of the inaugural What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report is set to become a semiannual tradition.

Netflix Releases Viewership Data for the First Time

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The report, covering streaming habits from January to June 2023, disclosed that the most-watched title globally during this period was the political thriller “The Night Agent,” which amassed a 812.1 million hours of viewing.

This offers a glimpse into the popularity of original content on Netflix. Following closely behind were Season 2 of the family drama “Ginny & Georgia” and the debut of the South Korean series “The Glory.”

For years, company had been about its viewership figures, leading to speculation and criticism, especially from Hollywood’s creative community.

The transparency comes when tensions between major studios and Hollywood labor unions, where issues of compensation and streaming data disclosure played a role.

Co-CEO Ted Sarandos acknowledged the past mistrust over time with creatives and the importance of addressing this issue.

The report covers over 18,000 titles, representing a 99% of its entire catalog, and encompasses nearly 100 billion hours of viewing.

This approach includes data on both original and licensed content, on how shows like the USA Network drama Suits perform alongside Netflix’s own productions.

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The report highlights the global nature of Netflix’s audience, with South Korean series “The Glory” securing a spot in the top rankings.

The platform’s success is not limited to English-language content, as demonstrated by the popularity of non-English series, which accounted for 30% of all viewing.

The report shows the diversity of its content library, showcasing the strength of returning favorites like “Ginny & Georgia,” “Alice in Borderland,” and “You,” alongside the emergence of new series such as “The Night Agent,” “The Diplomat,” and “Beef.”

The data challenges the notion that success is solely determined by the number of hours viewed, addressing the importance of thrilling the audience and the size of the fanbase relative to the economics of each title.

The move towards transparency also aligns with the entertainment industry, where streaming has become mainstream.

The report aims to provide insights for creators, suppliers, and competitors, a more open environment. The report into the dynamics of licensed content versus original productions.

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While company takes pride in boosting library titles like “Suits,” co-CEO Ted Sarandos addresses that licensing Netflix’s own content to other platforms might not yield reciprocal benefits.

The global audience reached by licensed content, coupled with its recommendation system, underlines the platform’s ability to unlock audiences for pre-existing shows.

The release of this detailed viewership report comes on the heels of negotiations with Hollywood labor unions.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA strikes earlier in the year were by demands for increased transparency in streaming data, influencing compensation structures for writers and actors. The commitment to disclosing more data is seen as a positive step in addressing these concerns.

The decision to share such data is not a one-time event. The company plans to continue this practice with biannual reports, providing a regular update on its viewership.

Netflix’s move sets new standards for transparency in the industry. The report reflects the platform’s commitment to meeting the demands of Hollywood unions but also positions Netflix as a pioneer in sharing viewership data.

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