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Published March 4th 2024

How We Felt About What We Watched: Exploring Netflix Engagement and Sentiment

How did viewers feel about the top 10 most-watched Netflix series in 2023? In this blog, we dive into the feelings and opinions of the Netflix audience online.

In December 2023, Netflix published “What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report,” a first-of-its-kind comprehensive look at what people watched on Netflix over six months between January and June 2023. 

This Netflix report covered 18,000 titles, representing 99% of Netflix’s titles, and it analyzed close to 100 billion hours of combined viewing time.

We’ve analyzed the top 10 most-viewed Netflix shows on the list, looking at six months’ worth of online data (from January 1 to June 30, 2023). 

In this blog, we’ll dive into the online feelings and reactions of the Netflix audience.

According to Netflix, the list of the top 10 most-watched shows on Netflix in the first half of 2023 looks like this:

  1. The Night Agent
  2. Ginny & Georgia
  3. The Glory
  4. Wednesday
  5. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
  6. You
  7. La Reina del Sur
  8. Outer Banks
  9. FUBAR
  10. Manifest

So, how did Netflix’s most-watched shows do on social media in the first half of 2023?

Let’s look at the data.

Methodology

This study, conducted by Brandwatch, is independent and not associated with Netflix. We utilized publicly available data from the Netflix Engagement Report and analyzed online mentions of the top 10 most-watched shows gathered through Brandwatch Consumer Research from January 1 to June 30, 2023. 

Which Netflix show dominated online discussions in 2023?

We gathered online data and ranked the top 10 most-watched Netflix shows based on the volume of mentions they received in the first half of 2023.

Based on our research, “Outer Banks” saw the highest share of conversation – 26% of all mentions – closely followed by “Wednesday,” accounting for nearly 24% of all mentions of the 10 shows analyzed. 

Together, these two Netflix series accounted for 50% of all mentions relating to the top 10 shows. 

On the other hand, “Manifest” turned out to be the least-discussed show online in the first six months of 2023, gathering only 1.5% of the entire conversation.

The biggest moments on social

We looked at spikes in conversation relating to the top five shows to identify the biggest moments on social. Perhaps not surprisingly, “Outer Banks” and “Wednesday” also witnessed the highest spikes in mentions.

Netflix’s “Outer Banks”

“Outer Banks” outshone the other four top-performing shows, scoring the biggest surge in conversation and clocking in 90.3k mentions on its season 3 release day on February 23, 2023. 

When we looked at the most popular “Outer Banks” posts on X (formerly Twitter) by country, we found that the highest engaged-with posts came from authors from the following four countries:

  • Brazil – 37.3k mentions, accounting for 31% of the entire conversation
  • United States of America – 33.8k mentions, representing 29% of the conversation
  • Argentina – 8.7k mentions, representing 7% of the conversation
  • France – 6.1k mentions, accounting for 5% of the total conversation

What spiked the conversation?

The data surfaced one of the most engaged-with posts shared by a Portuguese-speaking fan: 

Netflix’s “Wednesday”

“Wednesday” secured the second-biggest spike in conversation among the top 10 shows. On January 6, 2023, this Netflix series gathered 49.1k mentions upon Netflix’s announcement of a new season, a 472% increase in mentions from the previous period. 

What spiked the conversation?

This post on X saw the highest number of reposts on January 6, 2023. 

According to Brandwatch’s AI assistant Iris, 30,716 posts shared the link from this Netflix post on X

The Netflix post has since been viewed 56.5M times, reposted 65k times, and gathered over 5k comments.

This Netflix Facebook post announcing season 2 of “Wednesday” saw the highest reach on social.

The most reposted “Wednesday” post between January 1 and June 30, 2023 was this one: 

The engagement this post has received speaks volumes about the power of building an emotional connection between brands and consumers. Sharing personal stories, like Jenna Ortega’s challenges during Wednesday filming, makes the actress relatable and strengthens the bond with the audience, enhancing brand engagement.

Consumer feelings

Based on our analysis, of all sentiment-characterized mentions relating to the top 10 series, “Ginny & Georgia” gathered the highest volume of negative mentions, accounting for as much as 31% of the conversation. 

Which topics evoked feelings in discussions?

People reacted to controversial and sensitive topics addressed in the “Ginny & Georgia” show. This post on X received large volumes of engagement, suggesting that others felt strongly about the topic discussed in the post as well.

Other "Ginny & Georgia" viewers brought up topics about the show's production in their online discussions, like Netflix having to delay the series renewal due to strikes, and others voiced their opinions on the quality of acting.

“The Glory” and “The Night Agent” scored the highest volume of positive mentions, each accounting for 27% of all sentiment-categorized conversations.

K-drama fans celebrated their favorite “The Glory” actress winning the Best Actress award at the 59th Baeksang Arts Awards ceremony, as well as the show’s overall popularity outside of Korea.

Slide right to see more

“The Night Agent” received a lot of praise for its exciting plot and the excellent chemistry between the main characters on the show.

Even Stephen King was seen enjoying the show and posting about it on social.

Which Netflix show got binge-watched the most?

We ran a quick query to see which Netflix show people talked about “binge-watching” the most.

While our analysis surfaced many mentions of “binging” in conversations about “The Night Agent,” this show came in fourth place, closely behind “The Glory.”

“Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” clocked in the most mentions of “binging” followed by “Outer Banks” in second place out of all 10 shows.

Top emotions in conversations

When it comes to entertainment, online conversations can get very emotional.How did the 10 most-watched Netflix shows fare, and what emotions did they evoke?

The audience reactions by emotion: 

Our analysis of angry mentions relating to the top 10 shows uncovered consumer discussions about the cancelations of popular and beloved series. 

Among the sad mentions, many “Wednesday” fans reacted to the news of the passing of the original Wednesday Addams, Lisa Loring, the actress who played the little girl in "The Addams Family" sitcom.

Netflix’s “You” fans reacted with joy to the news of Penn Badgley, who’s playing Joe Goldberg in the show, allegedly asking for no sex scenes in “You” season 4, citing the importance of fidelity as his reason. Another joyful example was “The Glory” scoring #1 on Netflix’s South Korea top 10 had fans raving about this news online.

Brandwatch image

A fan’s Wednesday Addams tattoo went viral when people reacted with disgust on social after seeing this tattoo that, according to public opinion, looked more like Samuel L. Jackson than Jenna Ortega, who plays Wednesday on the show.

Among fearful online discussions, some people mentioned TV series getting darker and focusing on the horror aspect, like “Wednesday” and “You,” and ditching romantic storylines.

Lastly, online mentions of surprise were a common theme among Netflix fans sharing their reactions to unexpected plot twists in the shows.

Wrapping up

So, how did the data from the Netflix report compare to the online conversations? Let’s revisit the most-watched shows data from Netflix compared to the most-talked about shows data from Brandwatch: 

What does this tell us? 

The comparison reveals that popularity goes beyond mere viewership numbers. While some shows may dominate streaming platforms in terms of viewership, others resonate more deeply with audiences who express their opinions actively online. 

This diversity in audience preferences highlights the dynamic nature of the entertainment landscape and supplements the notion of what constitutes a "hit show." 

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