Netflix has more than 150 million subscribers worldwide. But the company has shied away from sharing how many viewers watch its original movies and TV shows until now. The streaming service is estimated to spend more than $10 billion on original programming this year. In its third-quarter earnings report, the company quietly revealed the list of most watched Netflix original movies and TV shows.
Most Hollywood entertainment companies rely on the viewership data from third-party analytics firms such as Nielsen to determine the success or failure of their shows and movies. Netflix measures the viewership of its original content a little differently.
According to the streaming company’s earnings report, a movie is counted as viewed when someone watches at least 70% of it within four weeks of its premiere. For TV shows, it counts a view when someone watches 70% of one episode within four weeks of its release. Netflix’s figures have been subject of a debate in the entertainment community because you have to take the company’s word for it.
The viewership data for the most watched Netflix original movies and TV series is for the last 12 months – October 2018 to September 2019. The data suggests that high-school comedy content is relatively more popular on the platform. The company told investors during the third-quarter earnings call that it could make its viewership data more widely available in the future.
If you are curious about which Netflix originals have attracted the most eyeballs, check out the ranking below:
Most watched Netflix original TV shows
No surprise for guessing the most popular show. The blockbuster sci-fi horror show Stranger Things garnered 40.7 million views in just four days of the release of its third season in July. The show on the second place is a bit of a surprise, attracting 45 million views.
— See What's Next (@seewhatsnext) October 16, 2019
- Stranger Things (64 million)
- The Umbrella Academy (45 million)
- La Casa de Papel (44 million)
- You (40 million)
- Sex Education (40 million)
- Our Planet (33 million)
- Unbelievable (32 million)
- Dead to Me (30 million)
- When They See Us (25 million)
- Elite (20 million)
Most watched original movies
The three of the most watched Netflix originals all have one thing in common: They are all crowd-pleasing films with big stars that helped attract viewers. Topping the list is Sandra Bullock’s Bird Box, followed by Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s Murder Mystery, and Ben Affleck’s Triple Frontier.
- Bird Box (80 million)
- Murder Mystery (73 million)
- Triple Frontier (52 million)
- The Perfect Date (48 million)
- Tall Girl (41 million)
- The Highwaymen (40 million)
- Secret Obsession (40 million)
- Always Be My Maybe (32 million)
- Otherhood (29 million)
- Fyre (20 million)
Surprisingly, the list doesn’t include El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which according to Netflix was watched by more than 25 million households in just seven days of its release.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was watched by 25,734,392 households in its first seven days pic.twitter.com/FDyPlYc8YO
— Netflix US (@netflix) October 23, 2019
Most popular licensed shows
Netflix spends over a billion dollars every year licensing popular content from other entertainment companies. The streaming service didn’t share a list of the most popular licensed shows. Instead, this list comes from media strategist Scott Lazerson, who revealed it at the Wall Street Journal’s tech conference. He didn’t share the exact viewership numbers, though.
- The Office
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Criminal Minds
- Orange is the New Black (It’s a Netflix original)
- Parks and Recreation
- Ozark (A Netflix original)
— Scott Lazerson (@scottlazerson) October 22, 2019
The streaming giant still has a number of movies and TV series in the pipeline. They include Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, the third season of The Crown, Tim Chalamet’s The King, and Eddie Murphy’s Dolemite is My Name.
However, Netflix is going to face fierce competition from Apple TV+, Disney Plus, and HBO Max streaming services in the coming months. Apple is spending billions of dollars to produce original content, and is giving one year of free Apple TV+ subscription to new iPhone buyers. Disney has a large number of high-quality and exclusive content, and its service is more competitively priced than Netflix.