In 2022 there were clearly a few favorite online titles. The most streamed series by far was Stranger Things – the fourth season brought Netflix 52 billion minutes of viewing.
For context, second-place show NCIS managed “only” 38.1 billion minutes.
Netflix otherwise dominated the charts, though not completely. It was responsible for 10 of the top 15 overall series and 13 of the 15 most popular originals. However, there was some competition. Disney+’s extensive catalog helped it earn three spots in the overall top (including Encanto at number five), and its kid-friendly library gave it ten spots in the movie rankings. Amazon Prime Video only had two titles in the original top 15, The Boys and The Rings of Power.
Stranger Things, final season, in 2024
Stranger Things, which will have its next season release in 2024, has not, however, achieved an absolute record. That honor goes to The Office, which managed 57.1 billion minutes, thanks to many episodes (192, up from 34) and lockdowns in 2020 due to the pandemic. Still, it’s a significant performance, and Nielsen points out that some shows took much less time to climb the rankings than others. Encanto took all year, while the Addams Family spinoff managed a similar achievement in 36 days.
The folks at Netflix have been surprisingly transparent about the future of the franchise. For one thing, the story created by the Duffer brothers will end with season five, which hits the platform next year. After that, however, Netflix has confirmed that there will be a Stranger Things drama and another spin-off series, likely built around one of the main characters. The drama will fall to Emmy and Tony Award winner Stephen Daldry, best known for his involvement with The Crown and Billy Elliot.
Nielsen also found that streaming has increased overall. Americans streamed more than 19.4 million years of content in 2022, a 27% increase over the previous year. This was largely due to both a wider range of services and, crucially, a wider range of original productions.