Netflix Dominates Streaming Viewership In 2020 With ‘Ozark,’ ‘Lucifer’ & More Beating ‘The Mandalorian’

If you were to name the most popular streaming series that aren’t released by Netflix, you’d probably start with Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” right? Maybe Amazon’sThe Boys” would be in there. Perhaps even Hulu’sThe Handmaid’s Tale,” if you want to go deeper. All three of those shows have strong viewership (so says the streaming platforms that release them) and they’re also critically-acclaimed. But when the third-party TV ratings company, Nielsen, breaks down which streaming shows are really the most popular, based solely on the number of minutes watched, Netflix dominates all and it’s not even close. 

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According to the year-end 2020 streaming rankings from Nielsen (via THR), Netflix dominates just about every category you can imagine. When it comes to original series, Netflix owns 9 of the 10 most-watched. When it’s “acquired” shows (such as “The Office”), Netflix represents the entire Top 10. It’s only when you talk about feature film streaming that any other platform can really compete, with Disney+ owning 7 of the top 10 (Netflix has the other 3). All that to say, it’s ridiculous how much of a stranglehold Netflix has on the current streaming landscape. 

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Now, before we get into exact rankings, it’s important to understand the methodology with how Nielsen comes up with these numbers. First, the stats only come from US households, which probably makes it more competitive than if Netflix’s worldwide numbers into the mix. And second, these numbers only include programs watch on TVs and not through mobile platforms. However, even if these aren’t completely comprehensive, they do provide actual statistics that the streaming services fail to give us. So, we are working with the best numbers we can.

When you talk about original series, that’s where things get really interesting. Disney+ scored a massive hit with “The Mandalorian.” We know how omnipresent the discussion of Baby Yoda has been in 2020. But even still, that series only ranks #5 on the Original Series listings. Which shows beat it? Netflix’s own “Ozark,” “Lucifer,” “The Crown,” and “Tiger King.” And honestly, the drop from the number of minutes watched from “Ozark” to “The Mandalorian” is pretty significant. Granted, that series does have more episodes to binge than Disney+’s series.

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Otherwise, the biggest number on the list is 57.13 billion, which is the total minutes watched in 2020 of “The Office” when it was on Netflix. That’s the only series in the rankings that has more than 40 billion, let alone anything rivaling 60 billion. So, if that doesn’t show just how badly Netflix is going to hurt as “The Office” moves to Peacock in 2021, nothing will. 

You can see the full Neilsen rankings for 2020 below:

Original Series

TitleOutletMinutes watched (billions)
The CrownNetflix16.28
Tiger KingNetflix15.61
The MandalorianDisney+14.52
The Umbrella AcademyNetflix13.47
The Great British Baking ShowNetflix13.28
Boss Baby: Back in BusinessNetflix12.63

Acquired Series

TitleOutletMinutes watched (billions)
The OfficeNetflix57.13
Grey’s AnatomyNetflix39.41
Criminal MindsNetflix35.41
Schitt’s CreekNetflix23.79
New GirlNetflix14.55
The BlacklistNetflix14.48
The Vampire DiariesNetflix14.09

Feature Films

TitleOutletMinutes watched (billions)
Frozen IIDisney+14.92
The Secret Life of Pets 2Netflix9.12
Dr. Seuss’ The GrinchNetflix6.18
Spenser ConfidentialNetflix5.37
Aladdin (2019)Disney+5.17
Toy Story 4Disney+4.42