Traditionally, streamers have always been deliberately opaque with their viewing and subscriber numbers. They calculate things in different ways and play the data close to their chests. This was how they managed to ride the wave for years on simply subscriber growth and ignore the fact that many of their business models were fundamentally flawed.

Then Netflix started to break the mold and be more transparent. It started to share weekly Top 10 charts, then would release month-by-month block metrics showing the performance of content in its first month. Analysts representing shareholders of other streamers started to ask “Why aren’t you doing that” and this is what has led to the more open discussion of the metrics as the streaming revolution stutters. Inevitably, it has led to the re-birth of content licensing and the pox of ad-supported tiers.

Even this more open reporting was flawed, however, as people find, or re-visit content, over an entire lifecycle on a streamer, so eyeballs can be on something many months or even years after it landed on a platform.

Once again Netflix is leading the way. They have released a comprehensive What We Watched report that covers over 18,000 original and licensed titles on their platform which is 99% of their viewing. The snapshot is not 4 weeks this time, it is the entire first half of the year from January to June 2023. This represents nearly 100 billion hours of viewing. Heck, there is even Microsoft Excel spreadsheet you can download. This is heaven for frustrated analysts everywhere.

The results are pretty surprising. For many years we wondered just how the hell network TV can support just so many procedurals and thrillers. The answer may lie at the top of chart with The Night Agent being the most viewed content in this period with 812.1 million hours viewed.

Second, third and fourth were taken by Ginny and Georgia (665.1M), The Glory (622.8M), and Wednesday (507.7M).

You can already see some nuance is needed in the reporting. If anything hit screens earlier in that period then they have had longer to wrack up views. Take, for instance, movies. Luther: Fallen Sun is showing as 209.7 million views and ahead in the list of Extraction 2 with 201.8 million views. However, Extraction 2 did those numbers in just two weeks, just sneaking into the period of the report. Luther: Fallen Sun had three months to do its numbers.

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