Streaming Trends 2022: Most Watched Movies & Shows of The Year

An exciting year for the streaming industry is coming to an end. The streaming giant Netflix once again dominated the scene despite losing subscribers for the first time in 10 years. When critics started writing off the streamer, it made a huge comeback in May with the release of Stranger Things season 4.

Stranger Things Season 4 released on the streaming service on May 27, proved to be a game-changer and smashed nearly all streaming records. It held the top spot on the streaming charts for eight weeks. However, according to ExpressVPN’s report on streaming trends in 2022, there are many more shows and movies to put on your to-watch list aside from Stranger Things.

How Netflix made a huge comeback?

The streaming giant was struggling to retain subscribers. In the first quarter of the year, it lost millions of subscribers for the first time in 10 years. However, the arrival of Stranger Things in May helped Netflix regain the subscriber count and push it on the way to glory.

Stranger Things 4 becomes Netflix’s most-watched series (English), based on its own reporting of total hours viewed in the first 28 days. The sci-fi series pulled up 1.35 billion hours of watch time in the first 28 days. Squid Game Season 1 remains the most-watched series on Netflix, with a watch time of 1.65 billion hours in the first 28 days.

Apart from Stranger Things, several other Netflix shows and movies helped the streamer regain the top spot and dominate the industry. If we look at streaming trends for 2022, sci-fi and true crime dramas remained the most sought genres. Shows and movies like Stranger Things, Ozark, Better Call Soul, The Rings of Power, and Hocus Pocus ruled the streaming charts.

Most Viewed Movies and Shows on Streaming Platforms in 2022

Stranger Things

As mentioned above, Stranger Things Season 4 turned out to be a real game-changer for Netflix. It sent on to become the most-watched English streaming title. The sci-fi series drew up 1.35 billion hours of watch time in the first 28 days.


This American crime drama was the viewers’ top choice. It clocked roughly 491.1 million hours in the first 28 days, holding the top for six weeks. In its first week, Ozark Season 4 recorded almost 3 billion minutes, thus proving an instant hit for Netflix.


In March, Bridgerton Season 2 became Netflix’s most-watched English-language show in its first 28 days of its release. Season 2 of the romance drama racked up a watch time of 656.26 hours in the first 28 days. The record was short-lived, as Stranger Things broke it in May 2022.

Inventing Anna 

This American play depicts the life of Anna Sorokin. A fictionalized rendition of the true story of a con woman posing as an heiress captures viewers’ interest. The show received 3.3 billion minutes of viewing time in its first week.


Dahmer, a true crime show that tells the true story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer made the record of Netflix’s most-streamed new show in its first week. It clocked 856.2 million hours of watch time in 28 days, becoming the third most Netflix show of all time.

Hocus Pocus 2

Hocus Pocus 2 is a sequel to a classic fantasy comedy that follows a villainous comedic trio of witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy). The sequel became the most-watched movie ever on Disney+.

Cobra Kai 

Another Netflix series is on the list. The sequel to The Karate Kids films, picked by Netflix after its first two seasons on YouTube Premium. The fifth season of the show was the top show on streaming charts for six weeks.

Except for four weeks in 2022, for which streaming audience numbers are currently available, Netflix content dominated the charts. Reacher and The Rings of Power on Prime Video took first place over those weeks. Disney Plus’s computer-animated fantasy comedy movie Turning Red was the no.1 one streaming title for two weeks.

Streaming in 2022: Interesting Data

Several new records were set up on the budgeting front. Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power becomes the most expensive series ever produced, with a budget of 715 million USD. The second season of the series is in production.

Netflix also set a record with The Gray Man, the most expensive movie made by the service to date with a cost of 200 million USD. The Gray Man becomes the fourth most viewed Netflix movie of all time. The streaming giant has plans to expand the film into a franchise.

The two biggest shows of the year were released in August 2022. The Lord of the Rings prequel, The Rings of Power, surpassed HBO’s much-anticipated House of the Dragon. However, this factors in only streaming figures, not the views on HBO’s cable service.

Reacher became the first TV series created by Amazon Prime Video to hit No. 1 to top Nielsen’s streaming rankings. For the week of February, the series came on the top 10 list of SVOD titles, with 1.589 billion minutes watched during its first week.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sets a Disney+ record for the highest viewership for a title in the first five days. The streaming service packs up a huge 26 million new subscribers in the year’s first half.

First the first time, streaming viewership in the U.S. transcends cable for the first time ever. Though the streaming industry has surpassed broadcast television for some time now, this was the first time it surpassed both broadcast and cable.

Netflix is winning the streaming wars

The tremendous increase in streaming throughout the world has sparked what analysts are referring to as the “streaming wars.” However, a few other streaming services have been able to stay up with Netflix.

This dominance is partly attributable to Netflix’s significant investment in the original material, which it either develops itself or buys the rights to outright in order to broadcast throughout the globe. Therefore, to gain more subscribers and become the winner, the streaming giant is producing shows and movies in nearly every genre.


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