Nielsen: Americans Streamed More Than 19.4 Million Years of Video Content in 2022

Consumer interest in streaming show no sign of slowing. New data from Nielsen found that streaming audiences in the U.S. collectively consumed more than 19.4 million years worth of video content in 2022 — up from 15 million years in 2021. Nielsen contends the upsurge in consumer adoption of streaming video underscores how dramatically content offerings have evolved since Netflix introduced original programming (“Lilyhammer”) in 2012.

Before the debut of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” the first TV series to appear exclusively on a streaming service, virtually all other streaming content had been licensed from other sources, according to Nielsen. Original content has grown to become a competitive advantage for streaming services, as many original titles attract viewers to the platforms, and in some cases, outperform acquired content.

Following a years-long surge in viewership of acquired content, in 2022, as viewing minutes for top-performing original content dramatically outpaced top-performing acquired content, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” took the top slot among all series.

In total, audiences watched 52 billion minutes of Stranger Things in 2022, the highest total since COVID-driven lockdowns drove audiences to watch 57.1. billion minutes of “The Office” in 2020. The dominance of original content is underscored even more by the fact that there are only 34 episodes of “Stranger Things,” while there are 192 episodes of “The Office”.

As previously reported, audiences watched 27.4 million minutes of Encanto, a full-length animated feature that premiered on Disney+ in late December 2021. That equates to it being watched 269 million times. While Encanto had 12 full months to accumulate so much viewing and land on the top streaming list, Netflix’s “Wednesday,” which debuted in late November 2022, made the cut with just 36 days of availability on Netflix.

While original content came of age with audiences in 2022, it’s important to highlight that across all streaming content — original, acquired and movies — only four titles were originals. This highlights the immense attraction that library content holds for viewers who spent billions of minutes throughout the year watching popular titles like “NCIS,” “Grey’s Anatomy,”  “Bluey,”  “Seinfeld,” “Criminal Minds” and “The Simpsons.”


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