After years of resisting, Netflix releases viewing statistics for nearly all titles

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Rege-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor star in Netflix’s “Bridgerton.”
Netflix

Creators rejoice: Netflix is finally revealing viewership statistics about nearly all of its shows and movies.

Netflix released its first “What We Watched” report Tuesday, which ranks almost all of its shows and movies by amount of hours viewed over the last six months. Netflix will release updated reports every six months, the company said.

Netflix has long had a reputation for lack of transparency about the popularity of its shows and movies. This has led to some distrust in the creator community, co-CEO Ted Sarandos acknowledged during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. Netflix kept its viewership data private as it built its business so it could experiment while not giving away data to potential competitors, Sarandos said.

“This is the actual data that we use to run the business,” Sarandos said. “I’m the co-CEO of a public company, so sharing bad information has consequences.”

Netflix now has almost 250 million global subscribers, far outpacing any other streaming service. That’s given Sarandos confidence he can be open with viewership statistics. Hollywood actors and writers both mentioned heightened transparency during their strikes earlier this year as they campaigned to be paid in line with how audiences consumed their content. Netflix has also launched an advertising tier that demands more transparency as brands want information about how frequently certain shows and movies are watched.

“This is probably more information than you need, but I think it creates a better environment for the guilds, for us, for the producers, for creators and for the press,” Sarandos said.

“The Night Agent: Season 1,” a Netflix original action thriller, was the service’s most viewed-show during the past six months, garnering 812 million viewing hours. “The Mother,” starring Jennifer Lopez, was the streaming service’s top movie. From January to June, 55% of Netflix viewing came from original films and series and 45% from licensed titles, Sarandos said.

Netflix revealed viewing information for more than 18,000 titles, accounting for 99% of all its viewing and all titles watched more than 50,000 hours.

Read Netflix’s report here.

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