- Netflix dominated Nielsen’s weekly streaming charts over the past year, a new analysis showed.
- “The Crown” had the most-viewed first week of any original streaming series, according to Nielsen.
- Nielsen’s measurements – based on minutes watched – do give Netflix an edge, though.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A new analysis of Nielsen’s weekly streaming charts over the past year shows that Netflix dominated.
Nielsen introduced weekly lists last year of the most-watched streaming titles, measured by the number of minutes watched per week. The analysis, by Tavish Zausner-Mannes of the firm Evolution Media Capital, found the top 10 original streaming shows with the most-viewed weeks on Nielsen’s lists from August 2, 2020 to August 8, 2021 – and they are all on Netflix.
The 10 shows with the most minutes watched in a given week included recent Emmys champion “The Crown” and “Bridgerton,” which is Netflix’s biggest worldwide series of all time by its own calculations (it counts a view if an account watches at least two minutes of a show or movie).
The data accounted for each show’s first full week on Netflix, which doesn’t include premiere weekends, save for one: “Cobra Kai” had a big enough debut weekend that that week made the list with just three days of availability.
The data is limited in that Nielsen only measures US viewership and it includes just Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Prime Video. The way Nielsen measures viewership – total minutes watched – also gives Netflix shows an edge, as new seasons are released all at once while hits on other streaming services, such as Disney’s “The Mandalorian” or Prime Video’s “The Boys,” are released weekly.
Nielsen is also under fire this year by the TV industry for the way it measures viewership, and NBCUniversal has taken steps to try and replace Nielsen with other measurement companies. Still, the data illustrates which streaming shows were popular over the past year and reflects some underlying trends.
Here are the top 10 streaming TV debuts of the past year, according to Nielsen measurements, including how many hours they were watched in their most-viewed week:
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 61%
What critics said: “Sarah Paulson’s sinister nurse bears almost no resemblance to the classic 1975 character.” — NME (season one)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 87%
What critics said: “‘Bly Manor’ stands as an ambitious blend of genres and arrives at its ultimate point with proper gravity. It’s not a great ghost story, it’s not a great love story, but it’s still haunting enough to hear out.” — Indiewire
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 96%
What critics said: “The series also succeeds in making the cerebral game of chess come alive even for viewers who don’t know a rook from a pawn.” — AV Club
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 88%
What critics said: “Over the years, it’s gotten looser, funnier, more sure of itself and more emotionally engaging, all while showing admirable fealty to the building blocks of quality mainstream television.” — Vanity Fair (season six)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 78%
What critics said: “The way it’s all packaged together, however, makes it slick enough that it’s irresistible to all ages. Don’t feel guilty if you feel a little too old for this show before you begin, because that bonkers mystery will keep you clicking.” — Uproxx (season two)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 80%
What critics said: “Even if Virgin River deals heavily in soap at times, it always returns to the very real, very honest issues affecting women today.” — Salon (season three)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 93%
What critics said: “Even with its flaws in season three, Cobra Kai hasn’t just honored the Karate Kid way of storytelling, but mastered it.” — RogerEbert.com (season three)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 88%
What critics said: “This new Shondaland smash, her first for Netflix, is set in 1813 London and features color-blind casting, a mega-sexy star in Rege-Jean Page and enough ravishing romance to take your mind off the latest Covid surge. Get ready to swoon.” — ABC News (season one)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 83%
What critics said: “In its best moments, The Umbrella Academy’s second season manages to balance both humanity and superheroics without sacrificing either.” — Vox (season two)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 90%
What critics said: “It is never gripping but it is always entertaining: a much-needed dollop of well-made, well-written, slowly-paced telly.” — BBC (season four)