The Top 10 Most-Streamed TV and Movies of 2020 are here

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2020 has been branded with an assortment of labels and titles, but from a media perspective, it was a truly transitional year for streaming video. With dramatic impacts to traditional staples like live sports, and an anxiety-inducing hyper news cycle alternating between COVID updates and political divisiveness, streaming video provided a much needed escape. 

While the massive spikes in media usage that sparked streaming enablement into near ubiquity weren’t unexpected given countrywide lockdowns, the aftermath reflects a permanently altered media landscape, with video streaming accounting for a larger share of overall media consumption than in previous years.

The Top 10 Most-Streamed TV and Movies of 2020 are here Brandspurng

Unsurprisingly, streaming platforms have become video wellsprings for content-hungry consumers, with well-advertised originals like OzarkThe Boys and The Mandalorian grabbing much of the spotlight.

TOP STREAMING CONTENT OF 2020 – ORIGINAL SERIES

Rank

Program Name

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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+ 16 14,519
6 THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY Netflix 20 13,470
7 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

 

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Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Hulu), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television. U.S. Persons 2+, Total Minutes Viewed During 2020 (December 30, 2019 through December 27, 2020). 

Read as: Ozark had nearly 30.5 billion minutes streamed.

TOP STREAMING CONTENT OF 2020 – ACQUIRED SERIES

Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Hulu), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television. U.S. Persons 2+, Total Minutes Viewed During 2020 (December 30, 2019 through December 27, 2020).
Read as: The Office had over 57 billion minutes streamed.

TOP STREAMING CONTENT OF 2020 – MOVIES

Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Hulu), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television. U.S. Persons 2+, Total Minutes Viewed During 2020 (December 30, 2019 through December 27, 2020).
Read as: Frozen II had nearly 15 billion minutes streamed.

And while consumers binged nearly 30.5 billion minutes of Ozark during 2020, they did so across a total of 28 episodes. Similarly, consumers watched more than 57 billion minutes of The Office, which ended its run on Netflix in December, but that viewing covered 192 episodes.

When looking at the types of content that was successful in 2020, it was original content that sparked cultural phenomenons and shepherded in new subscribers to both established and nascent platforms.

However, the most-viewed pieces of content on streaming platforms overall weren’t simply the original ones: They were the older shows that first found success on more traditional channels. While original content can generate buzz and draw in audiences, library content is what viewers find comfort in, watch casually and often return to. Simply put, they’re known quantities.

They’re the shows that viewers will turn to, as they already have established connections with audiences and provide easy viewing, especially when the hunt for new content to binge may be daunting.

Outside of episodic programming, the trends are much different, as eight of the top 10 movies (in terms of minutes watched) available on SVOD platforms in 2020 were kids’ titles. Unlike adults, children will watch and re-watch their favorite content time and time again (perhaps despite the sake of their parents’ possible sanity).

This helped land titles like Frozen IIMoanaSecret Life of Pets 2 and Onward into this year’s top 10 list, with each attracting viewership of between 8.3 billion and nearly 15 billion minutes each.

In addition to providing a stop-gap to the traditional theater experience during a year where many spent their time close to home, kids movies on streaming platforms likely helped many households cope with having children at home when they would traditionally be away at school.

Kids’ habits aside, streaming platforms offered a lifeline for movies that could no longer be released through a traditional means and in turn made films more easily accessible to a larger audience. After initially disrupting the television space, streaming services are enabling new options for the film industry as well.

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