Netflix’s viewership took a hit in 2023.
The streaming giant’s self-reported data showed time spent watching movies and TV shows on the service declined by more than 7 billion hours in comparison to 2022 – about a 17% decrease in audience engagement year-over-year.
This comes after Netflix spent 2023 trying to drive subscriptions with an eye towards increased profitability . The streamer expanded its initiative to stop password sharing, which despite early backlash, ended up yielding an influx of new customers. It also raised the price of its premium plan in an effort to drive users to its cheaper ad-based tier.
There isn’t one reason why Netflix’s viewership dropped, but NextTV says the service “isn’t churning out hits like it used to.”
Netflix’s most-watched show in 2023 was Shawn Ryan’s spy thriller The Night Agent. The title saw a weekly peak engagement of 216.4 million hours streamed, according to NextTV’s calculations.
Experts are likely still analyzing data from 2023, but odds are Netflix won’t be the only streamer to see a loss. Beyond consumers spending more time away from their screens, a host of ad-based free streaming options are drawing more viewers away from subscription services.
The entertainment industry as a whole struggled over the last few years and 2023 dealt its fair share of curve balls including Hollywood writers and actors going on strike, and rising inflation and production costs.
Netflix’s price hikes and password sharing crackdown are just a couple examples of tough – often unpopular – decisions streamers have had to make to stay afloat.
Analysts predict the streaming industry overall will turn a profit this year, but it remains to be seen what 2024 holds for the streaming veteran.
Netflix wasn’t immediately available for comment.