Netflix embraces transparency by releasing viewing numbers for 18,000 titles

To be more transparent about its viewership, Netflix finally shares viewing numbers from the first half of 2023.

Netflix is giving the world a look behind the curtain by releasing viewing numbers for more than 18,000 titles across the streaming platform. The data covers the first half of 2023, with titles like The Night AgentWednesdayBeef, and FUBAR a part of the mix. The 18,214 titles cover films and television with at least 50,000 viewing hours, representing 99 percent of all viewing on the service.

Netflix Vice President of Strategy and Analysis Lauren Smith says this is the most significant window into Netflix’s inner workings, as the company has been reluctant to share this type of information in the past.

Netflix’s The Night Agent Season 1 leads the pack, with 812.1 million hours streamed. Ginny & Georgia Season 2 takes the silver medal slot with 665.1 million hours, followed by Ahn Gil-ho’s Korean drama The Glory at 622.8 million hours and Tim Burton’s Wednesday getting creepy and kooky for 507.7 million hours. Netflix opts to use hours instead of views for better representation of engagement across its vast entertainment network.

Original series and movies dominate the chart. Still, licensed titles perform admirably, too. Roughly 55 percent of viewing was for originals, and 45 percent was for licensed shows and films. These numbers are unsurprising when considering Netflix’s content arrangement strategy across the app. More often than not, Netflix puts its original content front and center, while licensed films and television series often require a brief search.

According to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, the company is making strides toward becoming more transparent about viewership and hours clocked on the streamer. Long before today’s reveal, Sarandos said, “It wasn’t in our interest to be that transparent because we were building a new business, and we didn’t want to give any competitors a roadmap. Creators liked it too, because they were free from the pressure of ratings.”

Sarandos admits Netflix’s reluctance to print viewership receipts contributed to unintended consequences for the streamer by creating 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.

Are you glad Netflix is becoming more transparent about who’s tuning in for what on the streaming platform? Where do you suppose your favorite titles rank on the list? Stay tuned for more details as Netflix shares more about what works and what doesn’t on the widespread platform.

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He’s also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You’ll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.

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