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Study: Average American Has 13 TV Shows and 16 Movies on Watchlist

The average American has 13 TV shows and 16 movies on their watchlist to get through — averaging a total of 104 hours — which is enough content to last two whole flights around the world, according to new research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Plex, the free global streaming media platform.

The study of 2,000 Americans surveyed in July 2022 found that 68% keep a TV show and movie watchlist so lengthy, it’s “nearly impossible” for them to get through. While more than seven in 10 (73%) keep a list of shows and films they plan to watch, more than half (58%) said they struggle to keep track of everything they want to watch.

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The study also found:

  • Discovering content to watch is a challenge: Half of Americans said it’s a struggle to find what streaming platform content is available on, averaging 30 minutes of flipping through four different streaming services before deciding on what to watch.
  • Getting through a watchlist is not easy: Of the 42% of Americans who haven’t made it through their watchlist, the biggest obstacles preventing them from completing the list are that it’s consistently getting longer (43%), it’s already too long (29%) or it’s overwhelming (25%).
  • New, buzzy TV serials are the most popular for watchlists: “Stranger Things” topped Americans’ watchlists as the TV show they’d most like to watch, followed by “Game of Thrones” (21%), “The Walking Dead” (21%), “Breaking Bad” (19%) and “Squid Game” (19%).
  • Preferred TV show genre varies by generation: While Millennials are nearly twice (45%) as likely as Gen Z (26%) to have true crime shows on their watchlists, sitcoms are most popular on Zoomers’ lists (38%). Meanwhile, Gen X and Baby Boomers both prefer full-hour procedurals (50% and 58%, respectively).
  • Men and women prefer different watchlist formats: Nearly half (46%) of women simply try to remember what they want to watch, and the same number of men (46%) keep a note on their phones for their watchlists.
     

“With new content constantly being released to streaming services, it can be difficult to keep track of it all,” Jason Williams, product director at Plex, said in a statement. “With Plex Universal Watchlist, consumers can easily stay updated on their favorite movies and shows across all major streaming platforms, even as their favorite content moves or becomes available on other services. Our goal is to make the streaming experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible.”

Earlier this year, Plex launched with two new features, Discover and Universal Watchlist, to alleviate many of the pain points that plague consumers subscribed to multiple streaming services. With Discover, viewers can search for a title to find where it is streaming. If it’s available on a streaming service the viewer has, they can launch it directly from Plex, eliminating time wasted switching from app to app. Users can also easily add any titles to one Universal Watchlist on the Plex app, regardless of where the content is available, making it easier to remember what they want to watch across streaming apps and networks.

In the study, 58% reported that maintaining an organized watchlist is a “must” to ensure they can cross off content from their list. While two-thirds (65%) prefer watching content from their list before defaulting to something else, over half (56%) turn off the TV and find something else to do if they can’t find something to watch, and 55% opt for re-watching a show or movie. 

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