Most Americans couldn’t spend the holidays together with their families, and according to Nielsen’s Top 10 data, that translated to a lot of streaming for the week of Dec. 21-27 — more than one billion viewing minutes for five different programs, in fact.
Staying in on Christmas Day brought the teariest of eyes to Pixar’s latest masterpiece, the simultaneously jazzy and heart-wrenching dramedy “Soul” on Disney Plus. The stunning animated film, which had originally been slated for a summer theatrical release, got the streaming treatment due to the ongoing pandemic. That delay hiccup didn’t deter viewers. The movie got over 1.66 billion minutes of viewing time in the span of two days. It even managed to beat Nielsen’s Top 10 regular “The Office,” which made its final 1.4 billion minute bow on Netflix before migrating to NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock.
Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian,” the record-breaking champion of the week prior, descended to fifth place over the holidays, obtaining about 1 billion minutes of viewing time. The Star Wars series’ shocking finale reveal (and quasi-resurrection) of a certain Skywalker likely contributed to its rocket in the rankings the week of Dec. 14-20. The win marked the first time that a non-Netflix show landed at No. 1 on Nielsen’s streaming ranker, edging out Steve Carrell’s mid-aughts workplace sitcom. The popularity of “The Mandalorian” may have paved the way for more attention to the service and the opportunity to cross-promote, ultimately leading more people to press play on “Soul.”
The rest of Nielsen’s Top 10 for Dec. 21-27 was, as usual, ruled by Netflix programming. Shonda Rhimes’ new romantic Regency-era period drama “Bridgerton” reigned with its violin-string pop covers in third place, totaling to 1.2 billion minutes of viewing time. Other series on Netflix that got attention were “The Crown,” which dropped down from 3rd to 7th place, and “Grey’s Anatomy,” which switched with “Criminal Minds,” the former shifting from 4th to 8th place while the latter procedural crime drama settled in last.
Netflix’s newcomers to Nielsen’s Top 10 were all movies. “The Midnight Sky,” starring and directed by George Clooney, drew 1.1 billion minutes of viewing time, while the more lighthearted “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Christmas Chronicles 2” got 705 million minutes and 660 million minutes of viewing time, respectively.
Nielsen’s rankings are based on the number of minutes consumers who have access to streaming platforms are viewing during the week. Streamers such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney Plus do not release their own detailed stats and these streaming measurements are based on Nielsen estimates. Nielsen also factors Hulu into its top 10 rankings.
Here’s this week’s Top 10 in full:
“Soul” (Disney Plus) (movie) – 1,669 minutes (millions)
“The Office” (Netflix) (192 episodes) – 1,435 minutes (millions)
“Bridgerton” (Netflix) (8 episodes) – 1,204 minutes (millions)
“The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) (movie) – 1,113 minutes (millions)
“The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus) (16 episodes) – 1,024 minutes (millions)
“How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (Netflix) (movie) – 705 minutes (millions)
“The Crown” (Netflix) (40 episodes) – 700 minutes (millions)
“Grey’s Anatomy” (Netflix) (366 episodes) – 691 minutes (millions)
“Christmas Chronicles 2” (Netflix) (movie) – 660 minutes (millions)
“Criminal Minds” (Netflix) (277 episodes) – 651 minutes (millions)