Netflix Reveals Data on Nearly Everything Viewed From January to June

Co-CEO Ted Sarandos says withholding viewership data created an “atmosphere of mistrust with producers, creators and the press”

Luciane Buchanan as Rose Larkin and Gabriel Basso as Peter Sutherland in "The Night Agent" (Credit: Netflix)

Netflix has released a new semi-annual viewership report in an effort to deepen streaming transparency.

The report, titled “What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report,” tallies up over 18,000 titles that were watched for over 50,000 hours — making up 99% of all viewing on Netflix — over a period of six months. Releasing twice a year, the report provides data for a title’s hours viewed within the six months, as well as its release date and whether it was available globally.

“Over time, we’ve been getting increasingly more and more transparent about what people are watching on Netflix,” co-CEO Ted Sarandos told media on a call introducing the report. “When we started streaming 16 years ago, it was a pretty exotic proposition. There were no other streamers to compare to us and comparing live TV or live-plus-seven to Netflix on demand was like comparing apples to oranges. But as we’ve grown, streaming has become more mainstream in the U.S. — it makes up more TV time than cable or broadcast.”

The transparency effort builds upon the streamer’s weekly Top 10 most-watched lists tallying views for English and non-English TV and film, as well as its most popular lists for overall viewership to date in the same categories, both of which launched in 2021.

Following a summer and fall filled with discussions about streaming transparency amid the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Sarandos noted the streamer was on a “continuum of opening things up,” and said the viewing figures released Tuesday are “the actual data that we use to run the business.”

“The unintended consequence of not having more transparent data about our engagement was it created an atmosphere of mistrust over time with producers, creators and the press about what was happening on Netflix,” Sarandos said. “This is probably more information than you need, but I think it creates a better environment for the guilds, for us, for the producers, for creators and for the press.”

Tuesday’s report, which covers viewership from January–June 2023, showcases similar trends to those seen in the weekly Top 10 lists, including the popularity of titles like “The Night Agent,” “Outer Banks,” “Ginny & Georgia” and “The Mother.”

Unlike the Top 10 lists, however, the report is measured by hours viewed, which the Top 10 and most popular lists moved away from as it shifted this summer to divide total hours watched divided by a project’s runtime to determine its total number of views. VP of strategy and analysis Lauren Smith cautioned comparing TV series to movies using the data set due to varying runtimes.

From its release on March 23 through June, “The Night Agent” soared above any other series in terms of viewership as it totaled 812.1 million hours viewed. The next most watched project was “Ginny & Georgia” Season 2, which totaled over 665 million hours viewed. While “Outer Banks” Season 3 tallied 402.5 million hours viewed since its Feb. 23 release, the show scored 740.4 million hours viewed from January through June for all three of its seasons, trailing just behind “You,” whose four seasons logged 766.3 million hours viewed in the same period.

As for the “Suits” craze that began this summer, the USA drama tallied 599.1 million hours viewed, just ahead of the 581.9 million hours logged by all seasons of “Manifest.” Despite not releasing a new season within this period, “Stranger Things” logged 347.6 million hours viewed, above the 311.2 million hours viewed for “Seinfeld.”

While its shorter runtime takes “The Mother” out of the running to rival the buzzy series, the Jennifer Lopez action film was Netflix’s most-watched movie as it scored 249.9 million hours viewed.


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