What are the most viewed series on your favorite platforms? ‘Stranger Things’? ‘Wednesday’? ‘The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power’? ‘The House of the Dragon’? Of course, all those that shine with their own light every few weeks, not even every month, on the different streaming services. normal: are the big news, the ones that receive all the advertising energy and the ones that also benefit from the biggest investments of production.
Ask any user of these services what they think are the star programs of these services, and they will undoubtedly go to these titles, which are the stars for something. And yet, although they are undoubtedly the proposals that generate the most confidence in order to attract new subscribers (that is almost their basic function, in fact), the catalog fund of each of these platforms yields different results. Saving days of release of great novelties, the most watched every day on the platforms are titles that you may not expect.
We are going to review some data provided by the FlixPatrol streaming audience website. For example, if we go to the most watched on Netflix in Spain in the series category this week we have not only the inevitable hits that everyone talks about, such as ‘It’s you’ or ‘A ghost is loose at home’. Also there are a few productions seen on free-to-air television and, of course, not exclusive of the platform: in the number 1, ‘Entrevías’, finished months ago in open; in 2, ‘El Príncipe’, curiously also with Jose Coronado; in 3, ‘Drought’, originally seen on TVE; and on 9, after a previous triumphant passage through the platform, the soap opera ‘La reina del sur’.
Let’s move on to HBO Max, where the Spanish programming is much smaller, and which does not receive series that have been seen before in the open. Here, however, we are witnessing another peculiar phenomenon: we have series like ‘The Last of Us’ or ‘La Casa del Dragón’ in high positions, as is logical, plus some surprise hits, like the crime thriller ‘Cormoran Strike’, and even some more or less timeless success of the channel like ‘Chernobyl’. But at number 6, be careful, we have ‘Friends’, a success that is far from recent, but that is there, eternally in the top positions.
Something similar happens at Disney+, where we do not have a Spanish production, but a phenomenon similar to that of ‘Friends’ occurs on HBO Max: among the most viewed are Little new series like ‘The Simpsons’ (position 2), ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (3), ‘Modern Family’ (5), ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (6), ‘Family Guy’ (7), ‘Castle’ (8), ‘Criminal Minds’ (9) and ‘Futurama’ (10). That is, all except 1 (‘The Mandalorian’) and 4 (‘Bluey’, from preschool animation). Absolutely revealing, to say the least.
But the most notorious example, however, is that of Prime Video, where we find a mixture of the two cases (Spanish series that have already been seen in the open, and which are also television classics with continued success). Of course, we have recent hits like ‘El consultor’ or the last season of ‘Carnival Row’, but also series like ‘Aída’ (7), ‘La que se avecina’ (3) and ‘Aquí no hay quien viva’ ( 9). An unusual balance between our hometown equivalent of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (in terms of streaming success) and that tendency to see the same thing as on traditional television, but with the obvious advantages of online platforms.
This is not an isolated case right now. If we consult the most viewed so far this year we will have ‘The Queen of the South’ at number 1 on Netflix, on HBO Max ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Supernatural’ in addition to ‘Friends’ enter the Top 10, and more or less the same series mentioned above on Disney + remain on the list. AND on Prime Video, ‘La que se avecina’ is number 1 of the most watched series of the year (and ‘Aída’ appears much higher).
What does this phenomenon mean?
The first, and simplest, deduction is that a good part of the people who watch streaming take advantage, of course, of the platform’s greatest hits, but they also go to the bottom of the catalogue. To the timeless classics, to the movie or the series that works yes or yes on a Sunday afternoon (or a Tuesday night). With DVD and Blu-Ray sales plummeting, and although it’s not a good idea due to catalog fluctuations, viewers are also using streaming to watch their favorite movies, not just the latest releases.
The second is that the problem is not that the fictions on traditional television are bad or unattractive per se, but that the public is fed up with the ways and methods of linear television. Constant interruptions, schedules not always comfortable, mistreatment of formats… streaming has its problems, but the ability to watch programming when and under the conditions you want is something in which it far exceeds linear television. The success of ‘La Reina del Sur’ on Netflix, which has not achieved the desired results in Mediaset, is the best example.
In a certain sense, streaming has indeed changed things, even though the renewal has not come exclusively from the content. We have not launched ourselves en masse to consume fiction that is revolutionary and sophisticated and that leaves behind the times of traditional TV, but we have discovered that there are other ways of watching television. And whether with ‘Aída’ on her back or not, there is no turning back for that.
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