We may not know how many people are watching shows on Netflix and Amazon, but it’s clear that the British public are taking them increasingly seriously as exclusive top trending search data supplied by Google to RadioTimes.com reveals.
The most searched sci-fi, comedy and documentary TV programmes of 2016 were all Netflix originals, with Stranger Things, Gilmore Girls and true crime hit Making A Murderer all topping their genre lists.
There was also a good showing for Amazon Prime Video with their huge budget motoring format The Grand Tour scoring highly in search with entertainment fans, and several acquisitions including Lucifer and Preacher capturing the imagination of the British Googling public.
Netflix and Amazon do not supply viewing figures through the Broadcasting Audience Research Board (BARB) like ‘traditional’ channels in the UK, because they are online subcription services and do not rely on advertising to provide their services.
However, search analysis suggests that in some cases the level of interest in their original series is comparable to the biggest shows on broadcast television – some of which command millions of viewers on a weekly basis.
Sci-fi and fantasy was the genre most dominated by on demand television shows, with four of the top ten shows originating from streaming giant Netflix.
As well as sci-fi horror hit Stranger Things, Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror (which moved from Channel 4 to Netflix for its third series) and comic book adaptations Jessica Jones and Daredevil were all highly searched for shows.
Other big hitting sci-fi/fantasy TV programmes that got the internet typing were HBO’s newest export Westworld, as well as its global banker Game of Thrones, both of which are aired on Sky Atlantic in the UK. The return of the X-Files, which screened on Channel 5, also proved popular.
It was a a good showing for on demand in comedy, with the Gilmore Girls return on Netflix the most searched-for show, and Amazon Prime Video’s Lucifer also making it into the top ten. Other trending shows on Google included the return of ITV’s smash-hit comedy drama Cold Feet, Plebs and stand-out BBC3 Phoebe Waller-Bridge comedy Fleabag.
Possibly unsurprisingly, Netflix’s Making A Murderer topped the documentary searches, ahead of the BBC’s latest David Attenborough landmark documentary Planet Earth II, with another Netflix original in the shape of their Amanda Knox documentary coming in third.
The drama search charts skewed much more towards ‘traditional’ television, with the BBC/AMC television adaptation of John le Carré’s spy drama The Night Manager attracting the most attention amongst Google users in the UK, ahead of the second series of BBC’s mystery The Missing and ITV detective drama Marcella, which stars Anna Friel in the title role.
Other top searched for dramas include the Andrew Davies six-part adaptation of War and Peace starring Paul Dano, Lily James and James Norton and the second series of BBC’s Poldark. There was still room for an on demand show in the top 10, with Netflix’s royal drama The Crown, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, the eight most searched-for TV drama.
In the world of entertainment, BBC’s all-dancing talent show Strictly Come Dancing was the most searched for show ahead of perennial favourite Celebrity Big Brother. Amazon Prime Video would be pleased to see that their huge-money gamble on buying in the Top Gear gang for The Grand Tour seems to have attracted a lot of search attention, while The X Factor was less searched-for than Channel 4’s Naked Attraction.
In the world of soaps, Coronation Street claimed victory over EastEnders and Emmerdale as the most searched for soap… with Neighbours and Hollyoaks completing the top five.
The top trending search data supplied by Google refers to UK queries with “the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2016”. To see more about the year in search from global visit google.com/2016.