Nielsen: 21 Million Years Worth of Video Was Streamed in 2023

In 2023, U.S. audiences streamed the equivalent of 21 million years of video, according to Nielsen, which says that’s a record, surpassing by 21 percent the 17 million years’ worth of video streamed in 2022. Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” was the most streamed original, while “Suits” was the most-streamed show in a single year. Its 57.7 billion viewing minutes on Netflix and Peacock surpassed “The Office,” which generated 57.1 billion viewing minutes on Netflix in 2020. According to Nielsen’s Gracenote, “audiences had 90 different streaming services to choose from at the end of last year, up from 51 at the start of 2020.”

Key takeaways in the Nielsen report Streaming Unwrapped include the fact that while the time spent watching TV is largely flat, time spent streaming video continues to grow. Also, the increased importance of library content last year in light of Hollywood’s writer and actor strikes, which left audiences with “significantly less new content to binge throughout much of 2023.”

“The environment also inspired new perspectives about content licensing, as titles that were once exclusive to individual platforms began appearing on multiple services — a significant pivot from previous years. ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘The Pacific,’ for example, benefited as a result of this approach, appearing on Nielsen’s U.S. top 10 list the week of September 18, 2023, given their availability on both Max and Netflix,” writes TV Tech.

“Suits” was another beneficiary of the trend, spending a 12-week run in the No. 1 spot on Nielsen’s U.S. top 10 list as a result of its availability on two platforms.

Variety calls the 16.9 billion 2023 streaming minutes generated by “Ted Lasso” “impressive and surprising,” since Apple TV+ “has fewer subscribers than each of the other streamers measured by Nielsen. The performance by “Ted Lasso” still lags by nearly 6 billion minutes the last lowest-ranked of Nielsen’s Top 10, “Heartland” (Hulu, Netflix, Peacock) and “Supernatural” (Netflix), tied at 22.8 billion minutes each.

“Amid the ongoing excitement about streaming, it’s important to note that streaming is no longer limited to on-demand programming,” Nielsen writes, explaining that “the rise of virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs), free advertising-supported streaming television (FAST) channels and apps that offer access to live programming highlights the continued blurring between linear and streaming TV.”

More than 80 percent of houses that accessed TV content from an Internet connection in 2023 “watched some form of linear programming,” the data company adds, summarizing the takeaway as that while TV screens remain the primary device for media engagement, they’re now conduits for all content rather than for channel-specific programming.

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