Coronavirus crisis viewing: ‘The Office’ among top picks for streamers


“The Office,” the hugely popular sitcom that debuted on NBC in 2005, has mushroomed into an even bigger streaming hit now that millions of Americans are stuck at home.

Measurement firm Nielsen on Tuesday released a new analysis on consumers’ streaming behavior since millions of people have been told to shelter at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Not surprisingly, the new study found a big jump in viewership.

Nielsen estimated that consumers watched more than 156 billion minutes of streaming content during the week of March 16, a 36% increase from three weeks before, when viewers not yet stuck at home streamed some 116 billion minutes of content.

The analysis found that reruns of NBC’s “The Office” in particular continues to be among the most popular TV shows on Netflix, just behind “Spenser Confidential,” the action comedy film starring Mark Wahlberg, which was the most watched show on the streaming service during the week of March 9-15.

The teen drama/comedy “On My Block” ranked third, which may be a factor in the drop in attendance for Los Angeles schools that have discovered their students haven’t been doing much studying while at home.


“Overall, the share of streaming on TVs among homes has increased at a steady clip nearly every week over the past four weeks and currently stands at 23% of all viewing being done on TVs as of the week of March 16,” Nielsen said. “During the same week a year ago, it was 14%.”

The analysis illustrates the accelerated migration to viewership for streaming platforms, which has boosted such outlets as Netflix, Hulu and even smaller free streaming services such as Roku, Pluto TV . Cable news and broadcast TV shows have also gotten a lift.

Even amid the streaming trend, traditional television networks, including CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and others still attracted more than three-quarters of all consumption.

The Nielsen study did not break out viewing data for Disney+, which launched in November and quickly racked up more than 25 million subscribers.

But the survey also revealed that, among streaming outlets, Netflix’s share has diminished.

Netflix’s market share was 29% with its viewers consuming 45.4 billion minutes of content during the week of March 16, down from 36% during the same month a year ago.

Google’s YouTube platform captured 20% of the total, or 31.6 billion minutes. Hulu followed with 10% of the market, or 15.8 billion minutes streamed. Amazon Prime had 9% of the market with 14.7 billion minutes streamed for Prime Video subscribers.

Still, Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix is the undisputed giant, with nine of the top 10 programs streamed on the platform.