The 2020 Nielsen streaming numbers are out and ‘The Office’ takes top spot

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Nielsen released viewing numbers for the end of 2020, and looking at top 10 lists in the streaming world, Netflix dominated, though many of its most popular shows were not original series. 

In 2020, viewers spent more than 57 billion minutes watching “The Office” on Netflix, making it by far the most-streamed show of the year. Netflix’s most popular original series was “Ozark,” which dropped its third season at the beginning of the pandemic and clocked in at more than 30 billion minutes watched. 

“The Office” recently moved from Netflix to NBC’s free streaming service Peacock, but it’s not yet clear how many viewers will follow the series to its new platform. 

All the other top 10 most streamed shows, both in original series and acquired series categories, came from Netflix, except for “The Mandalorian” on Disney+. 

Where Disney+ really shined in terms of minutes-watched was movies, especially since kids like to watch films over and over. Of the top 10 most-streamed movies of 2020, seven of them were on Disney+. That’s huge news for the still relatively new streaming service. 

Overall, far more minutes were spent watching series on streaming, rather than movies. This makes sense because series are far longer, and the most-watched ones, including “Grey’s Anatomy” and “NCIS,” have hundreds of episodes available to view. It also suggests that movies don’t have the same power to break through on streaming alone in the same way that series do.




Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker