SOURCE: Suranjana Tewari | BBC
Netflix has released viewer data on 99% of its catalogue for the first time.
Users around the world watched The Night Agent for 812m hours, making the political thriller its most viewed show in the first half of this year.
The streaming giant has been criticised for not being transparent about how content performs on its platform.
The criticism was central to this year’s Hollywood strikes, which paralysed the film and television industry for several months.
Actors and writers have been demanding higher royalties for shows that performed well on streaming platforms.
On a conference call with the media, co-chief executive Ted Sarandos acknowledged that the lack of transparency about the popularity of its shows had led to distrust in the creator community.
He added that Netflix had kept its viewer data private while it was building the business so it could experiment without giving away crucial information to potential competitors.
“This is a big step forward for Netflix and our industry,” the company said in a blog post.
“We believe the viewing information in this report… will give creators and our industry deeper insights into our audiences, and what resonates with them.”
Hollywood’s creative community relies on viewing figures from audience data firm Nielsen – released annually – for traditional broadcast and cable television.
The What We Watched report ranks 18,000 titles by the amount of hours viewed between January and June this year. The company said it will now release the report every six months.
Covering nearly 100 billion hours of viewing time, other shows that featured prominently on the list included Ginny and Georgia, Gilmore Girls, Seinfeld, Friends and The Office.
The Mother starring Jennifer Lopez was the top movie, watched for more than 249 million hours.
Non-English content generated about a third of all viewing and Netflix said the data also shows there is still demand for older titles.
“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,” the company said.
With almost 250 million subscribers globally, Netflix is the largest streaming service in the world.
Since 2021, it has been releasing weekly Top 10 and Most Popular lists, which show the most-watched movies and TV shows in English and other languages.
Netflix said that more than half of the titles released this year appeared on the weekly Top 10 lists.
The What We Watched report showed 55% of Netflix viewing came from original films and series and 45% from licensed titles, according to Mr Sarandos.
Last year, Netflix launched a separate service with adverts, which requires more transparency because advertisers want information about the popularity of content.