Netflix has never been particularly open about its viewing metrics, but in recent times it’s started easing up a little bit. That has culminated in a new report it calls “What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report”. Set to be released twice a year, this report is supposed to show what people were watching over Netflix during a single six month period — in this case January to June 2023.
This report features data on every scrap of Netflix content that earned itself at least 50,000 viewing hours over the course of that six month period. That’s over 18,000 unique shows and movies, alongside their release date, total number of viewing hours in this period and a note on whether they’re available globally or not.
Right at the top is the Night Agent Season 1 (812.1K) followed Ginny & Georgia Season 2 (665.1K), The Glory Season 1 (622.8K), Wednesday Season 1 (507.7K) and Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (503K). Of course, in a spreadsheet of 18,000 shows and movies, that’s only scratching the surface.
According to Netflix these 18,000 titles account for 99% of all Netflix viewership, totalling over 100 billion viewing hours. It also claims that 60% of the content released between January and June has appeared in Top 10 lists — so a bunch of the best performing shows will probably seem rather familiar.
Netflix notes that non-English content generated 30% of all viewership, and judging from the list it seems Korean shows played a big part in that. That includes 2021’s Squid Game, which rocked up in 126th place with 87.2K viewing hours. So you can probably expect to see a lot more international content appear in your libraries going forward.
Netflix also notes that this data shows the staying power of certain content, like the aforementioned Squid Game and that older licensed titles are still in high demand. The original movies also captured pretty sizable audiences, with the likes of The Mother (249.9K) and Luther: The Fallen Sun (209.7K) both appearing in the report’s top 20.
Which is impressive considering movies don’t have as much staying power as TV shows, on account of their reduced running time.
Netflix is quick to note that viewing hours are only a part of how it determines which content is successful and what isn’t. It doesn’t go into great detail, but the streamer claims that success is often dependent on how much audiences enjoyed movies and TV shows — plus the audience size relative to the content’s cost.
In other words, generating a lot of viewing hours isn’t a guarantee that shows will be safe from Netflix’s infamous cancelation hammer.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.