Stranger Things was the most-streamed show of 2022-here’s the surprising top 10

Netflix’s smash hit Stranger Things was the most-streamed program of 2022, with viewers tuning in for 52 billion minutes last year as audiences increasingly opted for streaming platforms’ original content, according to ratings firm Nielsen.


Key facts

  • The May premiere of the fourth season of Stranger Things helped propel the show to the top spot, the highest since Covid-19 lockdowns drove audiences to watch 57 billion minutes of The Office in 2020, according to Nielsen.
  • The second most-watched series of the year was crime drama NCIS, which has been on air for more than two decades and has 356 episodes streaming on Netflix, with 38.1 billion minutes watched.
  • The 3D animated series Cocomelon was the top streamed children’s show of the year, clocking in 37.8 billion minutes on Netflix.
  • Viewers watched Netflix’s Ozark for a combined 31.3 billion minutes in 2022, propelled by the final episodes’ drop on the streaming platform in April.
  • The top streamed movie of the year (and the only title to break the top 10) was Encanto, which was watched for 27.4 billion minutes in 2022 on Disney+ despite being released the previous year.
  • The long running American medical drama Grey’s Anatomy brought in 26.8 billion viewership minutes from the more than 400 episodes available on Netflix.
  • Criminal Minds, the police drama which has been on the air since 2005, netted 24.9 billion minutes across streaming platforms (the series is available on Paramount+, Hulu and Disney+).
  • Bluey, an animated children’s series from Australia, picked up 21.1 billion minutes of viewership on Disney+ last year.
  • The legendary sitcom Seinfeld has been off the air since 1998, but still managed to break the top 10 last year by racking up 19.3 billion minutes on Netflix in 2022.

Big number

19.4 million years. That’s how much content Americans streamed last year, according to Nielsen.


Key background

Streaming in the U.S. last year was up by 27% compared to 2021, according to Nielsen, which noted the surge was driven by new platforms and an expansion of original content. Netflix alone released 1,024 episodes of original television content in the third quarter of 2022, setting a new record for any streaming platform. Streaming viewership surpassed cable television for the first time in July.