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What just happened? Netflix has released its first biannual report revealing detailed viewing information for its content. The data covers more than 18,000 titles and almost 100 billion hours of watch time across both movies and TV shows during the first half of the year.
What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report contains viewing figures for the streamer's shows between January 2023 and June. Netflix VP of strategy and analysis Lauren Smith said each of the 18,214 titles had at least 50,000 hours of viewing over those six months, making up 99% of all viewing on Netflix.
The number one show was the first season of The Night Agent, which managed to attract 812.1 million hours of viewing. It was followed by season two of Ginny & Georgia (665.1 million hours), with Korean drama The Glory (622.8 million hours) in third. Wednesday, which was released in November 2022, still managed to bring in 507.7 million viewing hours during the first half of the year. The fifth spot was taken by Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (503 million hours).
TV shows and limited series take the top thirteen places on the list as their viewing hours are counted across multiple episodes. The highest movie is The Mother, an action thriller starring Jennifer Lopez, in fourteenth position.
Netflix launched its Top 10 site in November 2021, listing its most popular shows and movies from each week. The company recently changed the way it reports these figures by using a "view" formula that divides total viewing hours by running time, but the engagement report ranks shows by total viewing hours. However, Netflix added that more than 60% of its titles on the report released between January and June 2023 appeared on its weekly Top 10 lists.
Netflix has spent billions of dollars on developing its own content, and it seems like the outlay has paid off. About 55% of all viewing in the report was for Netflix originals.
Some elements highlighted by Netflix include the strength of returning shows and movie sequels, the popularity of new series, enthusiasm for non-English stories (which made up 30% of all viewing), and the demand for older titles that still attracted millions of views in H1 2023. The company also mentions the enduring pull of content beyond its debut, such as All Quiet on the Western Front. The World War 2 film debuted in October 2022 and generated 80 million hours viewed between January and June.
The report is part of Netflix's push to address its lack of transparency, which CEO Ted Sarandos admits has created "an atmosphere of mistrust over time."
"This is probably more information than you need, but it creates a better environment for us, for the guilds, for producers and creators, and for the press," Sarandos said.