Netflix flashed its powers on Tuesday, revealing a big data set that showed its top episodes and movies by viewing hours from January to June of this year.

It was a typical power move in Hollywood.

First and foremost, Netflix was able to demonstrate the size of its audience and the depth of interaction on certain titles. The top title, “The Night Agent: Season 1,” received over 800 million viewing hours, according to the survey, which covered about 100 billion viewing hours. Good luck to any of Netflix’s smaller competitors — and they are all much smaller — who seek to share comparable statistics. It’s almost as if Netflix is daring them to try it since it would expose how little their audiences are in comparison.

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Netflix has about 250 million subscribers, while Disney Plus has 150 million, WBD has approximately 95 million (on Max and Discovery+), and the rest of the market lags behind (save for Amazon, which bundles video with Prime). It’s simply not even close.

However, the sheer volume of viewing hours was not the only Netflix flex in the research.

The strength of hits like “The Night Agent” and “Ginny & Georgia” had previously been witnessed by industry observers thanks to Netflix’s publishing of Top 10 lists. However, seeing their watching totals puts into perspective that these shows, which have been criticized by some critics as boring, broadcast-style entertainment, create massive interaction. “Ginny & Georgia” had two seasons that were in the top ten!

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Furthermore, if viewers complain about the cancellation of their favorite shows, Netflix can now point to the data. One criticism leveled at Netflix’s past attempts at openness, in the form of Top 10 lists, was that they displayed the major blockbusters but didn’t provide much information on the minor ones, especially if they were slow burns.

That is not the case with such a large quantity of data. If someone complains about a show being canceled, no matter how strong the superfans’ social media campaign, Netflix can now email the spreadsheet and say, “Sorry, no one was watching.”

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Finally, the most disruptive corporation in entertainment once again shown that it is not scared to disrupt itself. After years of keeping viewership numbers under wraps, then gradually and selectively breaking the door open with its top 10 lists, the firm abruptly and spectacularly revealed an eye-popping, comprehensive data collection.

Everyone in Hollywood and the media is now debating what these figures indicate for the company — its content mix, ad business, strategy — and the industry as a whole.

On a Tuesday, a four-dimensional power move? That’s not awful for Netflix.


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