These Were the Most Streamed Movies and Shows Of 2023




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Suits on Peacock.

The Suits phenomenon held strong throughout 2023, with the legal drama boasting the most minutes viewed out of all streaming programs — by a wide margin.

The legal drama, which was a modest hit on USA in the early 2010s, saw its clips blow up on TikTok and Instagram shorts, translating into streaming success, according to a breakdown by Nielsen. Thanks to its presence on both Netflix and Peacock, it boasted 57.7 billion minutes viewed for the year, well above the No. 2 show, Disney+’s Bluey, which boasted 43.9 billion minutes viewed.

Because of their large library of episodes — Suits ran for nine seasons and 141 episodes — older shows like NCIS and Grey’s Anatomy boasted massive views relative to their shorter modern-day counterparts. Older “acquired” shows made up 340 billion viewing minutes by themselves.

All of the attention and marketing effort, however, goes to newer original programming. The most popular original show in 2023 was Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso with 16.9 billion views, which may have been its final season. It was followed by Netflix’s The Night Agent with 14.4 billion views, Nielsen said.

The disparity of traffic between older acquired shows and newer originals is interesting to see in an age where streaming companies spend small fortunes on programming, with shows commanding budgets in the $20 million range or more per episode. In comparison, each episode of the final season of Game of Thrones cost $15 million. It’s partly why streaming services have been paring back spending and canceling shows as they look to reverse their years of losses, with Netflix as the sole major streaming service able to turn a profit.

On the movie front, Walt Disney had a strong year, with Moana taking the top spot as the most streamed film with 11.6 billion views, followed by Encanto with 9.7 billion. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the No. 2 film at the U.S. box office last year, was No. 3 with 8.8 billion views thanks to its availability on both Peacock and Netflix. Another Disney film, Elemental, came in fourth place.

Overall, we all streamed a lot more programs last year vs. 2022, with overall volume up 21%, according to Nielsen. This came on top of a 2022 that saw a 24.6% increase from 2021. The research and measurement firm noted that audiences watched “21 million years” of streaming content in 2023, compared with “17 million years” in 2022.

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