‘Suits’ Beats ‘The Office’ Streaming Record in 2023; Nielsen Reveals Original Streaming Shows Shut Out of Yearly Top 10

In a report analyzing TV viewership in the U.S. throughout 2023, Nielsen found that “Suits” beat a record previously held by “The Office” for number of minutes watched in a single year.

The legal drama racked up 57.7 billion total minutes watched in 2023, putting it just ahead of the 57.1 billion minutes of viewership accumulated by “The Office” in 2020. When comparing total time watched, though, projects with more episodes and/or longer episodes stand at an obvious advantage. The entirety of “Suits” runs for about 83 hours, which would mean it had an easier time reaching that 57 billion-minute mark than “The Office” did with about 73 hours of content.

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Still, both the old record and the new one speak to Netflix’s ubiquity in the streaming landscape. “The Office” aired its final episode on NBC in 2013 but continued to reach a huge audience until it was removed from Netflix at the start of 2021 and moved to NBCU-owned Peacock; “Suits” concluded on the USA network in 2019, and though it was already available to stream on Peacock, it didn’t make waves until being acquired by Netflix. (It should be noted that Nielsen solely measures U.S. televisions, excluding viewership in other countries and on mobile devices.)

The report lays out the Top 10 most-streamed titles in 2023 overall, as well as 10 the most-streamed titles that were original to streaming platforms, the 10 most-streamed acquired titles and the 10 most-streamed movies. Notably, 2023’s overall streaming chart and acquired streaming chart were identical; not a single streaming original broke into the Top 10 this year. Again, that is affected by the runtimes of the projects on the chart; long-shows like “Suits” and “NCIS” were easily able to push out more current titles that have only aired a few seasons. At the same time, the absence of a single original title on the Top 10 demonstrates that 2023 — marked by the Hollywood strikes — lacked any major streaming event that reached the ubiquity of years past.

For example, in 2022, though eight of the 10 most-streamed titles were acquired rather than original, the No. 1 spot went to “Stranger Things,” which released its fourth and penultimate season that year, while the fourth and final season of “Ozark” boosted that show to fourth place.

In 2023, the streaming original series with the most viewership was “Ted Lasso” with a total of 16.9 billion minutes — impressive and surprising, as the three-season comedy series hails from Apple TV+, which has fewer subscribers than each of the other streamers measured by Nielsen. But that total still puts it almost 6 billion minutes behind the last titles on the overall Top 10, which were “Heartland” and “Supernatural,” tied with 22.8 billion minutes watched.

Behind “Suits” and ahead of “Heartland” and “Supernatural,” the most-streamed programs of 2023 were “Bluey” (43.9 billion minutes watched), “NCIS” (39.4 billion), “Grey’s Anatomy” (38.6 billion), “Cocomelon” (36.3 billion), “The Big Bang Theory” (27.8 billion), “Gilmore Girls” (25.2 billion) and “Friends” (25 billion). Four of the top 10 titles stream exclusively on Netflix (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Cocomelon,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Supernatural”). Another three titles stream across Netflix and one or two other platforms (“Suits” on Netflix and Peacock, “NCIS” on Netflix and Paramount+ and “Heartland” on Netflix, Hulu and Peacock). One title streams exclusively on Disney+ (“Bluey”) and the last two stream on Max (“The Big Bang Theory” and “Friends”).

Behind “Ted Lasso,” “The Night Agent” was the second-biggest streaming original with 14.4 billion minutes watched — a feat for a one-season show with only eight total hours of content compared to “Ted Lasso’s” 23 hours. The rest of the chart was populated by “Ginny & Georgia” (14.4 billion), “Virgin River” (13.7 billion), “Love Is Blind” (13.1 billion), “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” (12.8 billion), “Gabby’s Dollhouse” (12.8 billion), “The Mandalorian” (12.3 billion), “Outer Banks” (12 billion) and “The Lincoln Lawyer” (11.8 billion). Each Top 10 original streams exclusively on Netflix besides “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), “Jack Ryan” (Amazon Prime Video) and “The Mandalorian” (Disney+).

The movies chart was dominated by children’s content, with the top spot going to “Moana” (11.6 billion minutes watched) and the following six spots going to kids’ titles as well: “Encanto” (9.7 billion), “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (8.8 billion), “Elemental” (8.6 billion), “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (7.1 billion), “Sing 2” (6.7 billion) and “Frozen” (6.5 billion). The bottom three on the chart were franchise films for an adult audience: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (6.4 billion), “Avatar: The Way of Water” (6.4 billion) and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (6.3 billion). Each movie on the chart had a full theatrical release before later debuting on streaming except for “Glass Onion,” which only had a limited theatrical release.

Per Nielsen, streaming viewership was up 21% in 2023 compared to 2022 — a consecutive year of growth, as 2022 streaming viewership was up 24.6% from 2021. In total, American audiences spent 21 million years’ worth of time streaming content in 2023.

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