'The Office' Was by Far the Most-Streamed TV Show in 2020, Nielsen Says
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Amid the acceleration of the streaming wars in 2020, one thing was clear: "The Office" stood head and shoulders above every other TV show available on major subscription-video platforms.
Last year, Americans cumulatively streamed more than 57 billion minutes of "The Office," the comedy favorite that originally aired on NBC, on Netflix, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen. But Netflix won't benefit from the Dunder Mifflin gang catalog this year: As of Jan. 1, all seasons of "The Office" moved exclusively to NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service.
The next-biggest show was "Grey's Anatomy," also on Netflix, with an estimated 39.4 billion minutes streamed. Indeed, Netflix had a lock on the top 10 most-viewed licensed TV shows, per Nielsen, with past seasons of "Criminal Minds," "NCIS," "Schitt's Creek," "Supernatural," "Shameless," "New Girl," "The Blacklist" and "Vampire Diaries."
Note that the rankings are based on the Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings service, which measures just four services: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney Plus.
Among original series, Netflix grabbed nine of the 10 spots, with "Ozark" taking first place. That was followed by "Lucifer," "The Crown" and "Tiger King." Disney Plus' "The Mandalorian," the hit Star Wars spinoff, came in at No. 5.
It's worth noting that licensed TV shows generally have more episodes, so it's not surprising they generate more streaming volume overall. For example, U.S. viewers watched 30.5 billion minutes of "Ozark" during 2020, which was across a total of 28 episodes. The more than 57 billion minutes of "The Office" spanned 192 episodes.
Meanwhile, on the movie front, Disney Plus' early release of "Frozen II" topped the most-streamed list, followed by "Moana" on Disney Plus and "Secret Life of Pets 2" on Netflix.
A caveat: The Nielsen estimates are estimated based on viewing on connected TVs, excluding mobile devices and computers. The streaming providers don't typically release viewing numbers. When Netflix touts viewing, for example, it uses a proprietary metric that counts the number of subscribers who watched at least two minutes of a title.
Also Tuesday, Nielsen announced the launch of Theatrical Video On-Demand (TVOD), a measurement service tracking movie releases that are directly available to consumers to rent or purchase on-demand through streaming and pay-TV platforms. Nielsen didn't specify which platforms would be included in the TVOD measurement, or when exactly it would launch.
Top Streaming Content of 2020: Acquired Series
Rank Program Name SVOD Provider(s) # of Episodes Minutes Streamed (Nearest Million) 1 The Office Netflix 192 57,127 2 Grey's Anatomy Netflix 366 39,405 3 Criminal Minds Netflix 277 35,414 4 NCIS Netflix 353 28,134 5 Schitt's Creek Netflix 70 23,785 6 Supernatural Netflix 318 20,336 7 Shameless Netflix 122 18,218 8 New Girl Netflix 146 14,545 9 The Blacklist Netflix 152 14,480 10 Vampire Diaries Netflix 171 14,091 Top Streaming Content of 2020: Original Series Rank Program Name SVOD Provider(s) # of Episodes Minutes Streamed (Nearest Million) 1 Ozark Netflix 30 30,462 2 Lucifer Netflix 75 18,975 3 The Crown Netflix 40 16,275 4 Tiger King Netflix 8 15,611 5 The Mandalorian Disney Plus 16 14,519 6 The Umbrella Academy Netflix 20 13,470 7 The Great British Baking Show Netflix 65 13,279 8 Boss Baby: Back in Business Netflix 49 12,625 9 Longmire Netflix 63 11,382 10 You Netflix 20 10,965 Top Streaming Content of 2020: Movies Rank Program Name SVOD Provider(s) Minutes Streamed (Nearest Million) 1 Frozen II Disney Plus 14,924 2 Moana Disney Plus 10,507 3 The Secret life of Pets 2 Netflix 9,123 4 Onward Disney Plus 8,367 5 Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Netflix 6,180 6 Hamilton Disney Plus 6,132 7 Spenser Confidential Netflix 5,374 8 Aladdin (2019) Disney Plus 5,172 9 Toy Story 4 Disney Plus 4,416 10 Zootopia Disney Plus 4,400 Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and Hulu), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television. U.S. Persons 2+, Total Minutes Viewed During 2020 (Dec. 30, 2019 through Dec. 27, 2020)
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