You might not be stuck inside watching shows like you were at the height of the pandemic, but there were clearly some favorite online titles last year. Nielsen has shared its top streaming shows of 2022 in the US, and the most-streamed by far was Stranger Things — the fourth season helped Netflix’s signature show rack up 52 billion viewing minutes. For context, the second-place crime drama NCIS managed ‘just’ 38.1 billion minutes.
Netflix otherwise dominated the charts, though not completely. It was responsible for 10 out of the top 15 overall shows, and 13 of the 15 most popular originals. However, there was some competition. The vast back catalog at Disney+ helped it claim three places on the overall chart (including Encanto in fifth place), and its kid-friendly library gave it 10 spots in the movie rankings. Amazon Prime Video only had two titles break into the top 15 originals, The Boys and The Rings of Power.
Stranger Things didn’t manage an all-time high. That honor goes to The Office, which managed 57.1 billion minutes thanks to many more episodes (192 versus 34) and 2020 pandemic lockdowns. It’s still a significant feat, though, and Nielsen points out that some shows took much less time to climb the ranks than others. Encanto had all year, while the Addams Family spinoff Wednesday managed a similar achievement (12th overall) in 36 days.
Nielsen also found that streaming was up as a whole. Americans streamed over 19.4 million years of content in 2022, a 27 percent jump versus the year before. That was largely due to both the wider range of services and, crucially, a wider range of originals. Audiences were more likely to stream internet-only shows than dive into licensed TV material, and that boosted the industry as a whole.
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