Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds, which originally premiered in 2005 on ABC and CBS before moving to streaming years later, led the field for the week of March 15 to 21. Grey’s had 673 million minutes of total viewing in the period, while Criminal Minds had 647 million. Grey’s is still a big draw on the ABC schedule, while Criminal Minds had its series finale in 2020. In addition to premiering the same year, both shows had Mark Gordon as a producer.
Nielsen methodology benefits long-running shows, and each of the top two has more than 300 episodes, giving them more opportunity to aggregate viewing. The company counts total viewing through a TV set on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, meaning mobile is not part of the numbers.
The lull in originals also coincided with mid-March draws like the return of March Madness. Newer streaming services not part of the Nielsen fold, such as the aggressively promoted rebrand of CBS All Access as Paramount+, also may account for the subdued numbers.
While original programming did not lead the charge, two new titles registered strong viewership for the week. Yes Day, a Netflix movie starring and produced by Jennifer Garner, saw a viewership increase from its first to second week, finishing No. 3 with 593 million minutes.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a new Marvel entry on Disney+, collected 495 million viewing minutes in its opening week. That was an improvement over the start for WandaVision, though the latter’s running time is also shorter.
A wave of attention for Britain’s royal family has boosted The Crown back into the Top 10. It was the No. 9 title, garnering 449 million minutes of viewing. Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lifted the show during the week of March 8 to 14.
Separate from Nielsen, Parrot Analytics reported today that from April 8 to 10, coverage of Prince Philip’s death caused a 47% surge in demand for The Crown in the U.S. That’s not the same thing as a 47% gain in viewership, however. Parrot’s proprietary “demand expressions” metric combines streaming with social media likes and shares, online trailer views and clicks and other input. Still, the prince’s death could well cause another Nielsen bump down the line. (Nielsen’s measurements of streaming are provided with nearly a month’s delay.)
Below is the full Top 10, with number of episodes (or film designation), and total minutes of viewing. Except as otherwise noted, all titles are on Netflix.
Grey’s Anatomy – 367 episodes, 673M minutes
Criminal Minds – 307 eps., 647M min.
Yes Day – film, 593M min.
NCIS – 353 eps., 569M min.
Ginny & Georgia – 10 eps., 540M min.
Cocomelon – 6 eps., 506M min.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+) – 1 ep., 495M min.
Heartland – 158 eps., 458M min.
The Crown – 40 eps., 449M min.
Savages – film, 434M min.