'The Office' Was the Most-Streamed Show of 2020
When the Streaming Wars started to gain momentum a couple of years ago, one of the main pieces on the metaphorical battlefield was The Office, the mega-popular former NBC sitcom about a group of paper company employees and their ridiculous boss. The show has reliably been a huge performer on whatever streaming platform it’s on, and The Office once again dominated the competition last year. According to some new measurements, it was the most-streamed show of 2020 in the United States…and second place didn’t even come close.
My ice cold take is that The Office was genuinely one of the funniest and best shows on television for years – that is, until Steve Carell left and the network decided to drag it out well past its prime. (Yes, it had a few good post-Michael Scott moments, but they pale in comparison to the show’s peak.)
But those disappointing seasons in the back half of the show’s run have not stopped people from watching the series in serious numbers: according to Variety, Americans streamed more than 57 billion minutes of The Office on Netflix last year. (That information is according to Nielsen, since the people at Netflix are famously stingy about releasing useful viewership data themselves.) That’s a staggering number – and one that becomes even more impressive when you learn that the second place series, Grey’s Anatomy, was streamed for 39.4 billion minutes.
These numbers only factor in views from connected TVs (no mobile devices or computers) and only measure four major services: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. But taking a closer look at the breakdown, Netflix is handily winning the Streaming Wars: that service has all ten of the top 10 most-watched acquired series last year, as well as nine out of ten of the most-watched original series. (The Mandalorian was the only non-Netflix title to crack that category.) Disney+ put up better numbers when it comes to movies, with Frozen II and Moana taking the top two spots on the most-watched films list, but since those films are only around two hours each, they only racked up a combined 24 billion minutes. (It’s impossible for any movie to compete with dozens of hours of TV episodes in overall time spent.)
Of course, it’s important to note that Netflix will not benefit from The Office in 2021, since the show migrated over to Peacock starting on January 1 (and Peacock is really taking advantage of having the show under its wing).
Head over to Variety to see the full breakdown, but here is Nielsen’s full list of the top streaming content of 2020 when it comes to original series.
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