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Netflix reveals its most-viewed shows for first time – including one drama we spent 812m hours watching

Netflix has named its most watched shows for the first time – including a drama viewers spent the equivalent of more than 1,000 of our average lifespans watching.

The streamer revealed its most popular series for the first time after long-term criticism of its lack of transparency over how its content performs.

It said it will start publishing a “comprehensive deep dive” twice a year into what its subscribers are watching – with its first report, which was released on Tuesday 13 December, covering viewer data on more than 18,000 shows and 100 billion hours of watching time.

Political thriller The Night Agent turned out to be the most watched show on Netflix globally in the first half of 2023, with 812m hours.

With the average human lifespan standing at 692,040 hours, it means fans of the show spent the equivalent of 1,173 lifetimes glued to the series.

Some TV fans reacted with amazement it made the top spot, asking: “Has anyone even seen this?”

The 812m hours spent on The Night Agent accounted for the time viewers spent on its first season alone, which was released on 23 March. Next in the league table of most-watched shows was the second season of Ginny & Georgia, racking up 665m hours viewed six months after the show came out.

‘The Night Agent’ is Netflix’s most-watched show of the year (Netflix)
‘The Night Agent’ is Netflix’s most-watched show of the year (Netflix)

South Korean thriller The Glory clocked 622.8m hours viewed, while the Addams Family spin-off Wednesday came fourth place in the rankings of the most-watched shows, managing 507.7m hours viewed.

Rounding out the top five is Bridgerton spin-off Queen Charlotte , which racked up 503m hours of viewing time. Meanwhile, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s six-part documentary series on their exit from royal life was watched for a combined 62m hours.

The Netflix report shows what users streamed most from January to June.

Netflix’s co-chief executive Ted Sarandos admitted on Tuesday the company’s “lack of data and lack of transparency” had created an environment of “mistrust” in the entertainment industry.

‘Ginny & Georgia’ was the second most-watchd Netflix title from January to June (Netflix)
‘Ginny & Georgia’ was the second most-watchd Netflix title from January to June (Netflix)

His acknowledgment comes on the back of transparency on streaming services being a central issue during this year’s strikes that ground Hollywood to a standstill. Writers and actors demanded better royalties when their shows performed well on streaming services – as they had done on traditional television networks.

Sarandos said: “In the earliest days, it really wasn’t in our interest to be that transparent because we were building a new business and we needed room to learn.”

The executive also suggested the creators of Netflix titles initially enjoyed not knowing as it took a pressure off worrying about instant ratings results.

Netflix’s most-watched league table, which is going to be published twice a year (Netflix)
Netflix’s most-watched league table, which is going to be published twice a year (Netflix)

But only last month, Netflix swung the axe on five shows – Shadow and Bone, Agent Elvis, Captain Fall, Glamorous and Farzar – all of which were left with open endings.

Sarandos added: “The unintended consequence of not having more transparent data about our engagement was that it created an atmosphere of mistrust over time with producers and creators about what was happening on Netflix.”

He also said by sharing “the data that we use to run the business”, he hopes a “better environment” will be created for those involved with the company.