The most watched streaming TV shows and movies of 2020, according to Nielsen

Disney Plus‘The Mandalorian’
  • Nielsen released its lists of the top streaming titles of 2020 on Tuesday, based on minutes watched in the US.
  • Netflix dominated the TV lists, with the top original series, “Ozark,” and the top acquired series, “The Office,” which left the service at the end of 2020 for NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
  • Insider combined the lists, which also included the top movies of the year, to make a top 20.
  • The list is largely made up of Netflix titles, with just one movie, Disney’s “Frozen II,” and one Disney Plus series, “The Mandalorian,” breaking through.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Streaming saw a major boom in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic and the average US streaming home now subscribes to four streaming services, according to recent research.

But even as more companies entered the streaming space, from WarnerMedia to NBCUniversal, Netflix still dominated 2020.

The research company Nielsen released its lists of the top streaming original series, acquired series, and movies on Tuesday. Netflix topped both TV lists with “Ozark” and “The Office,” the latter of which left the service at the end of 2020 for NBCU’s Peacock.

Overall, “The Office” was the most watched streaming title of 2020, according to Nielsen, which measured minutes watched in the US across four streaming platforms: Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video (no titles from the latter two services made Nielsen’s lists).

“The Office” has been a consistent hit for Netflix and shows that while the company is investing heavily in original content and wants to build its own franchises, its library of old TV shows is still essential for its success.

Since Nielsen measured the minutes watched for each title, TV shows had an advantage when looking at how the movies and TV shows stacked up against each other. Insider combined the lists based on minutes watched to come up with a top 20, and only one movie made that list: “Frozen II,” which is streaming on Disney Plus.

Disney Plus dominated the movies list with seven titles, but only one of its TV shows, “The Mandalorian,” broke through.

Longer-running shows also have an advantage on Nielsen’s list. For instance, “The Office” has nearly 200 episodes compared to “The Mandalorian’s” 16.

Below are the top 20 streaming titles of 2020 according to Nielsen, based on minutes watched in the US:

20. “Longmire” (Netflix original)


Minutes watched: 11.38 billion

Number of episodes: 63

19. “Boss Baby: Back in Business” (Netflix original)


Minutes watched: 12.6 billion

Number of episodes: 49

18. “The Great British Baking Show” (Netflix original)


Minutes watched: 13.28 billion

Number of episodes: 65

17. “The Umbrella Academy” (Netflix original)


Minutes watched: 13.47 billion

Number of episodes: 20

16. “The Vampire Diaries” (streaming on Netflix)

The CW

Minutes watched: 14.09 billion

Number of episodes: 171

15. “The Blacklist” (streaming on Netflix)

Sony Pictures Television/NBCUniversal Television Distribution

Minutes watched: 14.48 billion

Number of episodes: 152

14. “The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus original)

Disney Plus

Minutes watched: 14.52 billion

Number of episodes: 16

13. “New Girl” (streaming on Netflix)


Minutes watched: 14.54 billion

Number of episodes: 146

12. “Frozen II” (streaming on Disney Plus)

Walt Disney Studios

Minutes watched: 14.92 billion

11. “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” (Netflix original)


Minutes watched: 15.61 billion

Number of episodes: 8

10. “The Crown” (Netflix original)


Minutes watched: 16.27 billion

Number of episodes: 40

9. “Shameless” (streaming on Netflix)


Minutes watched: 18.2 billion

Number of episodes: 122

8. “Lucifer” (Netflix original)


Minutes watched: 18.97 billion

Number of episodes: 75

7. “Supernatural” (streaming on Netflix)

Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Minutes watched: 20.3 billion

Number of episodes: 318

6. “Schitt’s Creek” (streaming on Netflix)


Minutes watched: 23.78 billion

Number of episodes: 70

5. “NCIS” (streaming on Netflix)

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Minutes watched: 28.13 billion

Number of episodes: 353

4. “Ozark” (Netflix original)


Minutes watched: 30.46 billion

Number of episodes: 30

3. “Criminal Minds” (streaming on Netflix)

CBS Television Distribution/Disney Media Distribution

Minutes watched: 35.41 billion

Number of episodes: 277

2. “Grey’s Anatomy” (streaming on Netflix)

ABC/Richard Cartwright

Minutes watched: 39.4 billion

Number of episodes: 366

1. “The Office” (left Netflix at the end of 2020, now streaming on Peacock)

NBC / Contributor / Getty Images

Minutes watched: 57.1 billion

Number of episodes: 192

The biggest streaming original TV shows of 2020 according to Nielsen, based on minutes watched in the US (all on Netflix unless otherwise noted)

  1. “Ozark” – 30.5 billion
  2. “Lucifer” – 18.97 billion
  3. “The Crown” – 16.27 billion
  4. “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” – 15.6 billion
  5. “The Mandalorian” – 14.5 billion (Disney Plus)
  6. “The Umbrella Academy” – 13.47 billion
  7. “Great British Baking Show” – 13.28 billion
  8. “Boss Baby: Back in Business” – 12.6 billion
  9. “Longmire” – 11.38 billion
  10. “You” – 10.96 billion

The biggest streaming library TV shows of 2020 according to Nielsen, based on minutes watched in the US (all on Netflix)

  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” – 23.78 billion
  6. “Supernatural” – 20.3 billion
  7. “Shameless” – 18.2 billion
  8. “New Girl” – 14.5 billion
  9. “The Blacklist” – 14.48 billion
  10. “The Vampire Diaries” – 14.09 billion

The biggest streaming movies of 2020 according to Nielsen, based on minutes watched in the US

  1. “Frozen II” – 14.9 billion (Disney Plus)
  2. “Moana” – 10.5 billion (Disney Plus)
  3. “The Secret Life of Pets 2” – 9.1 billion (Netflix)
  4. “Onward” – 8.37 billion (Disney Plus)
  5. “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” – 6.18 billion (Netflix)
  6. “Hamilton” – 6.1 billion (Disney Plus)
  7. “Spenser Confidential” – 5.37 billion (Netflix)
  8. “Aladdin” (2019) – 5.17 billion (Disney Plus)
  9. “Toy Story 4” – 4.42 billion (Disney Plus)
  10. “Zootopia” – 4.40 billion (Disney Plus)

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.