Bridgerton led a heavy-viewing New Year’s week, while Soul and The Office topped separate movie and acquired-show rankings, respectively, in Nielsen’s first expanded weekly snapshot of U.S. streaming.
With 2.648 total minutes of streaming from December 28 to January 3, the 8-episode Bridgerton solidified its position in the annals of Netflix. The company last month declared the Shonda Rhimes show its most popular original to date.
Fellow Netflix original Cobra Kai reached 2.606 billion minutes to finish second among originals. Pixar’s Soul, which was mobilized as a Disney+ title due to Covid-19 theater closures, drew 1.343 billion minutes of viewing, more than double the next-best movie title, Netflix’s We Can Be Heroes. The Office, which dominated the 2020 chart as the most-watched streaming title, ended its run on Netflix as the most-streamed acquired show. As of January 1, it is exclusively streaming on Peacock.
Nielsen will now offer three separate top-10 lists each week, gauging streaming of original and acquired fare as well as movies. (See the full lists below.) As it has since launching the streaming measurements last summer, the company counts viewing in the U.S. via a TV screen (meaning mobile doesn’t count) and only on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu. The numbers are reported after a significant delay, by arrangement with the participating services.
In a special addendum to its Christmas-week rankings, Nielsen said last week that Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max outdid Soul. Without an agreement yet with WarnerMedia to measure HBO Max on a weekly basis, the service is MIA for now on the expanded Nielsen lists. Ditto for Peacock, whose corporate overseers at NBCUniversal say The Office is outpacing its viewing levels on Netflix, though they have not yet provided numbers.
Soul racked up almost 1.7 billion minutes of streaming in its first three days, per Nielsen, so the animated film appeared to lose steam in the week after its debut weekend. But it also appears to have helped stimulate viewing of other titles on Disney+, with library fare like Frozen II, and Moana joining 2020 summer release Mulan in the top 10.
The holiday week also saw some even longer-in-the-tooth movie titles charting, such as The Croods (whose sequel hit theaters and PVOD over the holidays), 17 Again and Rango.
The acquired-show chart was entirely made up of shows on Netflix, though the lack of Peacock or HBO Max as a source means that Friends and The Office were not eligible. Well-established broadcast network titles like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS and The Blacklist fill most of the top 10 spots, but one fresher entrant is Imposters, which ran for two seasons on Bravo before being canceled in 2018.
Below are the three charts, with the number of episodes for series as well as total minutes of viewing. All titles are Netflix unless otherwise noted.
TOP 10 ORIGINALS
Bridgerton – 8 episodes, 2.648 billion minutes
Cobra Kai – 30 eps., 2.606B min.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – 36 eps., 961M min.
The Crown – 40 eps, 797M min.
The Mandalorian (Disney+) – 16 eps., 707M min.
Virgin River – 20 eps., 662M min.
The Queen’s Gambit – 7 eps., 607M min.
Death to 2020 – special, 519M min.
The Great British Baking Show – 65 eps., 445M min.
Designated Survivor – 53 eps., 241M min.
TOP 10 ACQUIRED TITLES
The Office – 192 eps., 937M min.
Grey’s Anatomy – 366 eps., 835M min.
Schitt’s Creek – 80 eps., 816M min.
New Girl – 146 eps., 728M min.
Criminal Minds – 278 eps., 711M min.
NCIS – 353 eps., 553M min.
Supernatural – 327 eps., 526M min.
Shameless – 122 eps., 329M min.
The Blacklist – 152 eps., 291M min.
Imposters – 20 eps., 279M min.
TOP 10 MOVIES
Soul (Disney+) – 1.343B min.
We Can Be Heroes – 626M min.
The Midnight Sky – 491M min.
Unknown – 307M min.
Frozen II (Disney+) – 238M min.
Mulan (Disney+) – 219M min.
The Croods – 185M min.
Rango (Amazon Prime Video) – 161M min.
17 Again – 155M min.
Moana (Disney+) – 144M min.
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