×

‘Friends,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Were Most Binge-Watched TV Shows of 2018, Study Finds

Friends” — which last aired on broadcast TV 14 years ago — was the most binge-watched television show of 2018 thanks to the full run being on Netflix, according to a new study.

The sitcom about twentysomething New Yorkers nabbed the highest share of binge sessions over the course of the year, according to TV Time, based on its analysis of the behavior of 12 million registered users worldwide of its app for tracking, commenting on and voting for television shows.

The enduring popularity of “Friends” (corroborated by other third-party research) clearly motivated Netflix to re-license the show from Warner Bros. Television: It was set to roll off Netflix at the end of 2018, and after a social-media uproar the streamer announced a new deal to keep “Friends” on the service through at least another year. Netflix reportedly agreed to pay around $100 million to keep all 10 seasons following Rachel, Monica, Ross, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe available to customers in the U.S. and Canada.

No. 2 on TV Time’s ranking was ABC’s long-running primetime drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” whose past seasons are available on Netflix. That was followed by Netflix’s controversial teen-suicide show “13 Reasons Why”; Spanish-language series “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”), which premiered on Spain’s Antena 3 in 2017 before it was picked up by Netflix; and The CW’s “Riverdale” (the first two seasons of which also are on Netflix). TV Time defines a binge session as one in which a user watches at least four episodes of a show within a 24-hour period. For the annual report, bingeing patterns were calculated from Jan. 1-Dec. 13, 2018.

But take these rankings with a really big grain of salt.

For starters, the binge-watching data aggregated by TV Time is self-reported by users of the free app — it’s not a passive measurement service that tracks actual viewing behavior. In addition, the company says the app’s base of 12 million users skews young, comprising primarily people 18-34. TV Time’s business model is geared around selling data and analytics to networks, streaming providers, studios and others.

Another important point: Popular shows on traditional broadcast and cable channels are likely to be underrepresented in TV Time’s binge-viewing data, because episodes of current seasons are released weekly. Fans of, say, “Game of Thrones” would be far less likely to stack up four or more episodes to watch in one sitting than, for example, people who were eagerly anticipating season 2 of “13 Reasons Why.” Note that CBS’s “Big Bang Theory,” one of the top ratings-getters on primetime television, came in No. 9 on the TV Time list.

That said, here are TV Time’s rankings, for what they’re worth:

Top 10 Binge-Watched Shows of 2018

Rank  Show Network/Service Share of Binge-Watching
1. “Friends” Netflix 2.36%
2. “Grey’s Anatomy” ABC/Netflix/Hulu 2.07%
3. “13 Reasons Why” Netflix 1.69%
4. “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”) Netflix 1.69%
5. “Riverdale” CW/Netflix 1.68%
6. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Fox/NBC/Hulu 1.40%
7. “The 100” CW/Netflix 1.25%
8. “Orange Is the New Black” Netflix 1.19%
9. “The Big Bang Theory” CBS 1.16%
10. “Pretty Little Liars” Freeform/Netflix 1.06%

Source: TV Time

More TV

  • 'The Bachelor' Recap: Finding Love Among

    'The Bachelor' Recap: Finding Love Among Hometown Dates

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the eighth episode of Season 24 of “The Bachelor.” For the first glimpse of the real world in weeks, titular bachelor Peter Weber took his women back home. With only four women remaining — Hannah Ann Sluss, Kelsey Weier, Madison Prewett and Victoria Fuller — [...]

  • Drew Carey Price Is Right

    'Price Is Right' Tapings Delayed After Drew Carey's Ex-Fiance Killed

    “The Price Is Right” tapings have been postponed following news that host Drew Carey’s ex-fiance was killed last week. Family and sex therapist Amie Harwick, 38, was found Saturday morning at her home in Los Angeles with injuries consistent with a fall. She later died at the hospital. Her ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse has been arrested [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Returns to Air As ITV Defends Treatment of Caroline Flack

    ‘Love Island’ was back on air Monday for the first time since the death of former host Caroline Flack on Feb. 15. Amid the reality series’ return, broadcaster ITV insists it supported the star after she was removed from the show. Monday night’s episode began somberly with narrator Iain Stirling providing voiceover over scenes of [...]

  • Tiffany BooneEntertainment Weekly Pre-SAG Party, Arrivals,

    Actor Tiffany Boone Addresses Her Decision to Quit 'The Chi'

    Actor Tiffany Boone addressed her exit from “The Chi,” the Showtime series she departed in November 2018 after making harassment allegations against her former co-star Jason Mitchell. Mitchell was fired from the show last May as a result of intimidation and abuse accusations made by Boone and showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis. Mitchell was subsequently dismissed [...]

  • Amazon Prime nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for

    Amazon Prime Nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for Germany, France and the Netherlands

    Amazon Prime Video has acquired the first season of series “Russian Affairs” for distribution in Germany, France and the Netherlands, from Russia’s Start Studios. The eight-part drama that follows the lives of Russia’s elite and those who aspire to that position is set in contemporary Moscow. Under the title “Gold Diggers,” the series was broadcast [...]

  • MODEL RELEASED Mother with baby, 1

    Channel 4 Orders ‘Baby Surgeons’ From Wonderhood Studios

    U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has commissioned Wonderhood Studios for a documentary series with the working title “Baby Surgeons.” The series will explore the journeys parents go through to save their babies during complex pregnancies and will feature cutting-edge baby surgeries, some performed inside the womb. It will also use CGI, MRI and Ultrasound to enhance [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content