More streamers than ever are making a dent in overall viewing as the industry continues to diversify – but the size of the subscriber base is still king, and that meant Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) dominated the list of most-streamed programs of the past year.
Disney (NYSE:DIS), though – which is catching up in terms of worldwide subscribers – made a couple of appearances on the overall list, and displayed its dominance in terms of most-watched streaming movies.
Stranger Things (NFLX) was the most-streamed program for all of 2022, according to Nielsen, with a hefty 52B minutes streamed – more than 36% more minutes than its next-closest rival, NCIS (38.1B minutes). That 52B minutes was the most since the COVID-19 pandemic pushed viewing of The Office to 57.1B minutes in 2020.
NCIS streams on Paramount+ (PARA) (PARAA), but also on Netflix (NFLX), which means Netflix had a foothold in the top four streamed programs of the year: Stranger Things, NCIS, toddler hit CoComelon (37.8B minutes) and Ozark (31.3B minutes).
Overall, Americans streamed more than 19.4M years in content last year – a 27% increase over the total of about 15M years in 2021, Nielsen noted.
And original content from the streaming companies grew to a new high in 2022, thanks in large part to Netflix originals (Netflix posted the 10 most-viewed original shows: Stranger Things, Ozark, Wednesday, Cobra Kai, Bridgerton, Virgin River, Dahmer, Love is Blind, Inventing Anna and The Crown).
Still, newer streamers are filling out their viewership with library content – and acquired programs made up 11 of the top 15 programs overall. Rounding out the top 10 behind Stranger Things, NCIS, CoComelon and Ozark: No. 5, Encanto (DIS), 27.4B minutes; No. 6, Grey’s Anatomy (NFLX), 26.8B minutes; No. 7, Criminal Minds (various), 24.9B minutes; No. 8, Bluey (DIS), 21.1B minutes; No. 9, Gilmore Girls (NFLX), 20.8B minutes; and No. 10, Seinfeld (NFLX), 19.3B minutes.
Amazon Prime Video’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) investments in originals landed it two shows on that chart: The Boys at No. 11 (10.6B minutes); and The Rings of Power at No. 15 (9.4B minutes). And HBO Max (WBD) put Friends on the acquired-programs list at No. 11 (14.54B minutes streamed).
Meanwhile, Disney (DIS) took 10 of the top 15 streaming-movie slots, including the top two with Encanto (seen 269M times) and Turning Red (11.427B minutes). Netflix (NFLX) had the only other movie to stream more than 10B minutes, with Sing 2 (11.347B minutes).
(Nielsen streaming ratings now incorporate viewing from seven major streamers: Amazon Prime Video (AMZN), Apple TV+ (AAPL), Disney+ (DIS), HBO Max (WBD), Hulu (DIS) (CMCSA), Netflix (NFLX) and Peacock (CMCSA).)