Behind the Curtain: Netflix Releases First-Ever Viewership Report

The platform unveiled its first bi-annual “What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report”, which reveals the number of hours viewed for every title, both original and licensed, covering almost 99% of its library.

One of the things that has traditionally set streaming apart from linear TV, and which the industry has always demanded to be changed, is the fact that OTT platforms don’t make their viewership numbers as available as ratings are for linear TV.

But now, Netflix is ready to change this and join the likes of YouTube, making its numbers available to the general public with its very first report.

“Starting today we will publish What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report twice a year. This is a comprehensive report of what people watched on Netflix over a six month period”, the company announced on Tuesday.

The report includes hours viewed for every title -both original and licensed- watched for over 50,000 hours; the premiere date for any Netflix TV series or film; and whether a title was available globally.

In total, the report covers more than 18,000 titles, representing 99% of all viewing on Netflix, and nearly 100 billion hours viewed.

“Over 60% of Netflix titles released between January and June 2023 appeared on our weekly Top 10 lists. So while this report is broader in scope, the trends reflected in it are very similar to those in the Top 10 lists”, the company explained.

This first report highlights:

– The strength of returning favorites like Ginny & Georgia, Alice in Borderland, The Marked Heart, Outer Banks, You, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, XO Kitty and film sequels Murder Mystery 2 and Extraction 2;

– The popularity of new series like The Night Agent, The Diplomat, Beef, The Glory, Alpha Males, FUBAR and Fake Profile, which generate huge audiences and fandoms;

– The size of the audience of our films across every genre including The Mother, Luther: The Fallen Sun, You People, AKA, ¡Que viva México! and Hunger;

– The enthusiasm for non-English stories, which generated 30% of all viewing;

– The staying power of titles on Netflix, which extends well beyond their premieres. All Quiet on the Western Front, for example, debuted in October 2022 and generated 80M hours viewed between January and June; and

– The demand for older, licensed titles, which generates tremendous value for our members and for rights holders.

In regards to how Netflix measures the “success” of a title, the company explained: “Success on Netflix comes in all shapes and sizes, and is not determined by hours viewed alone. We have enormously successful movies and TV shows with both lower and higher hours viewed. It’s all about whether a movie or TV show thrilled its audience — and the size of that audience relative to the economics of the title; and to compare between titles it’s best to use our weekly Top 10 and Most Popular lists, which take into account run times and premiere dates.”

“This is a big step forward for Netflix and our industry. We believe the viewing information in this report -combined with our weekly Top 10 and Most Popular lists- will give creators and our industry deeper insights into our audiences, and what resonates with them”, they concluded.

The first report can be download here.