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Netflix shares first engagement report revealing most popular shows and movies

Netflix shares first engagement report revealing most popular shows and movies Photo: Netflix shares viewing numbers for its shows and movies (Getty Images)

Netflix has released detailed viewer data for 99% of its content for the first time, revealing insights into the popularity of its shows and movies. This move addresses longstanding criticism about the streaming giant's lack of transparency in content performance.

This comprehensive report, titled "What We Watched," ranks 18,000 titles based on hours viewed from January to June and will be published every six months. Netflix stated that more than 60% of its titles released in the first half of 2023 made it to its weekly Top 10 lists. The company noted, "So while this report is broader in scope, the trends reflected in it are very similar to those in the Top 10 lists."

The newly released data shows that "The Night Agent" was the most viewed show on Netflix in the first half of the year, with 812 million hours watched. It's followed by the second season of "Ginny & Georgia" with 665.1 million hours, the first season of "The Glory" with 622.8 million hours, the debut season of "Wednesday" with 507.7 million hours, and "Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story" with 503 million hours viewed.

Encompassing almost 100 billion hours of watch time, other notable shows on the list included "Ginny and Georgia," "Gilmore Girls," "Seinfeld," "Friends," and "The Office."

"The Mother," starring Jennifer Lopez, was the most-watched movie on Netflix, accumulating 250 million hours of viewership.

The report highlighted that non-English content accounted for about a third of all viewing, and older titles still have significant demand. Netflix's co-chief executive, Ted Sarandos, acknowledged that the decision to release this data represents an important step for both Netflix and the industry, aiming to provide deeper insights to creators and the industry.

Netflix transparency

The background of this event involves longstanding criticism from Hollywood's creative community and viewers about Netflix's secretive approach regarding the performance of its content. This lack of transparency was a central issue in this year's Hollywood strikes, which demanded higher royalties for successful streaming shows.

Historically, Netflix kept viewer data private to avoid giving away strategic information to competitors and to freely experiment with its content. However, transparency has become more pressing, especially after launching an ad-supported service that requires more openness to satisfy advertisers' needs.

The release of this data marks a significant shift in Netflix's policy, influenced by industry demands, competitive pressures, and a growing subscriber base seeking more transparency.

Also, the company is experimenting with ways to retain viewers. But like any streaming service, Netflix is not immune to unforeseen circumstances. Recently, Netflix members experienced widespread connectivity issues on TVs, with thousands of error reports indicating network connection problems.