The 10 biggest streaming TV debuts of the past year were all on Netflix, according to Nielsen data

The Crown
‘The Crown.’ Netflix
  • 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:

10. “Ratched” (2020-present) – 27.2 million hours
Ratched netflix
Sarah Paulson in ‘Ratched’ Netflix
Description: “In 1947, Mildred Ratched begins working as a nurse at a leading psychiatric hospital. But beneath her stylish exterior lurks a growing darkness.”

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)

9. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (2020) – 30.4 million hours
Haunting of bly manor - dani
Victoria Pedretti as Dani Clayton. Eike Schroter/Netflix
Description: “Dead doesn’t mean gone. An au pair plunges into an abyss of chilling secrets in this gothic romance from the creator of ‘The Haunting of Hill House.'”

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 

8. “The Queen’s Gambit” (2020) – 30.8 million hours
Queen's gambit
Description: “In a 1950s orphanage, a young girl reveals an astonishing talent for chess and begins an unlikely journey to stardom while grappling with addiction.”

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

7. “Lucifer” (2016-2021) – 33.5 million hours
Lucifer
‘Lucifer’ Netflix
Description: “Bored with being the Lord of Hell, the devil relocates to Los Angeles, where he opens a nightclub and forms a connection with a homicide detective.”

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)

6. “Outer Banks” (2020-present) – 35 million hours
Jj outer banks
JJ. Netflix
Description: “On an island of haves and have-nots, teen John B enlists his three best friends to hunt for a legendary treasure linked to his father’s disappearance.”

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)

5. “Virgin River” (2019-present) – 35.2 million hours
Virgin river
‘Virgin River’ Netflix
Description: “Searching for a fresh start, a nurse practitioner moves from LA to a remote northern California town and is surprised by what — and who — she finds.”

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)

4. “Cobra Kai” (2018-present) – 43.4 million hours
Cobra kai
Cobra Kai’ Netflix
Description: “Decades after the tournament that changed their lives, the rivalry between Johnny and Daniel reignites in this sequel to the ‘Karate Kid’ films.”

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)

3. “Bridgerton” (2020-present) – 44.1 million hours
BRIDGERTON - Netflix
BRIDGERTON (L to R) PHOEBE DYNEVOR as DAPHNE BRIDGERTON and RUTH GEMMELL as LADY VIOLET BRIDGERTON in episode 101 of BRIDGERTON Liam Daniel/Netflix
Description: “The eight close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family look for love and happiness in London high society. Inspired by Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels.”

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)

2. “The Umbrella Academy” (2019-present) – 50.2 million hours
The umbrella academy
‘The Umbrella Academy’ season 2 Netflix
Description: “Reunited by their father’s death, estranged siblings with extraordinary powers uncover shocking family secrets — and a looming threat to humanity.”

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)

1. “The Crown” (2016-present) – 56 million hours
The crown 403
Description: “This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.”

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)