Ozark , The Office , and Frozen 2 top the most-streamed entertainment of 2020, Nielsen says

Nick Romano
·3 min read

Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Disney; Steve Dietl/Netflix

Entertainment became a precious commodity in 2020. With nowhere to go due to a global pandemic that is still ongoing, people hunkered down and watched a crap-ton of movies and shows to pass the time, keep them sane, and allow them to escape. Now that the year is over, Nielsen, which expanded its TV-ratings-tracking systems to incorporate streaming numbers in recent years, released its findings for the entertainment we collectively streamed the most over the last 12 months.

Disney+ titles dominated Nielsen's top 10 report for movies, with Frozen 2 sitting at the top. Moana (Disney Animation), Onward (Pixar), Hamilton (Walt Disney Pictures), the live-action Aladdin (Walt Disney Pictures), Toy Story 4 (Pixar), and Zootopia (Disney Animation) were also in the top 10. Dr. Seuss's The Grinch, found on Hulu these days (a Disney-controlled platform), also made its way on the list, along with Secret Life of Pets 2 and Spenser Confidential, the latter two hosted by Netflix.

Netflix seemed to dominate the television findings, both in terms of Nielsen's list of original series and acquired series. Ozark, Lucifer, and The Crown took the top three spots on the original series report, and The Office (which only just moved to Peacock in the new year), Grey's Anatomy, and Criminal Minds topped the acquired-series report.

The Office by far out-streamed the rest in terms of views. According to Nielsen, the Steve Carell-led comedy racked up 57 billion minutes of streams across 192 episodes in 2020, while the show was on Netflix. Viewers watched 30.5 billion minutes of Ozark across 28 episodes in the same period. By comparison, 14.9 billion minutes of Frozen 2 were streamed.

See the top-10 findings below, ranked by minutes streamed.

Original series
1. Ozark (30.5 billion)
2. Lucifer (18.97 billion)
3. The Crown (16.3 billion)
4. Tiger King (15.6 billion)
5. The Mandalorian (14.5 billion)
6. The Umbrella Academy (13.5 billion)
7. The Great British Baking Show (13.3 billion)
8. Boss Baby: Back in Business (12.6 billion)
9. Longmire (11.4 billion)
10. You (10.97 billion)

Acquired series
1. The Office (57.1 billion)
2. Grey's Anatomy (39.4 billion)
3. Criminal Minds (35.4 billion)
4. NCIS (28.1 billion)
5. Schitt's Creek (23.8 billion)
6. Supernatural (20.3 billion)
7. Shameless (18.2 billion)
8. New Girl (14.6 billion)
9. The Black List (14.5 billion)
10. The Vampire Diaries (14.1 billion)

Movies
1. Frozen 2 (14.9 billion)
2. Moana (10.5 billion)
3. Secret Life of Pets 2 (9.1 billion)
4. Onward (8.4 billion)
5. Dr. Seuss's The Grinch (6.2 billion)
6. Hamilton (6.1 billion)
7. Spenser Confidential (5.4 billion)
8. Aladdin (2019) (5.1 billion)
9. Toy Story 4 (4.4 billion)
10. Zootopia (4.4 billion)

Nielsen's findings note that streaming now accounts for nearly a quarter (24 percent) of all usage in American households with smart TVs.

Scott N. Brown, general manager of audience measurement at Nielsen, mused in a statement, "A bigger question might be what will audiences do following any recovery, how the behavior adopted during stay-at-home orders might influence habits when consumers have the ability to go back to theaters to enjoy that experience and how content creators will leverage data to make the best decisions regarding distribution platforms in the future."

Related content: