The Streaming Experience: Are People Watching New Content on Streaming Platforms?

Streaming habits can be as personal as fingerprints and may even reflect your mood and viewing preferences. So tell us, are you a tried and true superfan or curious for new content?
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When was the last time you watched cable? If you’re part of the 78% of American households who report having streaming subscriptions, the answer is likely not recently.[1] Streaming content is the most dominant form of visual entertainment today with many people “cutting the cord” in favor of curated content.

But what are people watching with on-demand access to content? New generations are able to discover the shows their parents (and even grandparents) loved without having to miss an episode. At the same time, streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix race to put out new shows in an effort to grab public attention.

So we got curious. What are people watching? How many viewers are likely to jump into something new? How many of you are sticking with your favorites? We were pretty interested in the results.

In this article
Key findings
Something old, something new...
Where to find original content
How old are popular shows and movies by platform?
Bottom line
Methodology

Key findings

Before streaming, most people relied on The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) for most original content and reruns of their favorite shows. In fact, in 1980, 90% of viewers were watching one of these channels.[2] By 2005, the average viewership had dropped to 32%.

Now that every major studio and network has their own form of streaming distribution, people are much more likely to watch content on their own terms. So what are viewers watching? Here’s what our research found:

  • 64% of the most popular streaming shows aren’t originals.
  • On average, people watch new (to them) content 60% of the time they use a streaming platform. They rewatch content the other 40% of the time.
  • Among the top 25 titles on each service, Disney+ is the platform with the oldest movies on average (10 years).
  • Hulu has the oldest shows on average (10 years) among its most watched and is also the platform with the fewest original shows (4).

Something old, something new…

Whether you’re loyal to The Office or still haven’t binged all of Modern Family, your watching habits are probably on par with the rest of the country. A survey of the 25 most popular streaming TV shows and movies in 2022 revealed:

  • On average, people watch new (to them) content 60% of the time and rewatch something 40% of the time.
  • 62% of viewers say they watch new content ​more​ than half of the time they tune into a streaming service.

Americans spend 60% of their time watching new streaming content.

This means that, while viewers are watching more new things, they're still leaning pretty hard into familiar favorites. Whether it’s a well-loved show that’s put on as background noise or something comforting to fall asleep to, familiar favorites still have an active part in people's viewing experience.

Where to find original content

Bring on the originals! Viewers are here for the drama, the laughs, and the fantastic worlds never seen before. For those looking for new characters to love, here's the information on which streaming services provide you with the most new shows and films.

We analyzed the top 25 movies and television shows of the last year for every major streaming service. While some services are focusing on new titles, others are sticking to well-known intellectual property (IP). Here’s how each of the major streaming services compares when it comes to original shows.

Whether you’re an action-adventure fan or looking for some comedy, Amazon Prime Video tops the list with 23 original shows, the most originals for any of the streaming services. Shows like The Boys, Jack Ryan, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel have entertained for years but new originals like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and The Citadel are gaining traction on the platform.

Hulu comes in with only four originals, putting it at the bottom of our list. The most well-known original title in its catalog is The Great about the life of Catherine The Great of Russia. Hulu does love its documentaries, however, and you can find a ton ranging from pop culture like The Randall Scandal, which focuses on another scandal from the show Vanderpump Rules to food documentaries like Padma Lakshmi’s Taste the Nation.

Amazon Prime Video offers the most original content with 23 out of 25 of its most popular shows being originals.

Lockdown taught viewers who were looking for an original movie but didn't want to head to the theater that they could stream something new and exciting directly from their sofa. Originals used to be reserved for platforms like Disney or The Hallmark Channel, but now every platform is either producing or distributing new films. There's something for everyone out there, whether that's a rom-com or a horror flick.

A lot of people tend to think of Netflix when they think of original movies and for good reason. The OG streaming platform has the most original movies (13) among its top 25 even though it has the fewest originals overall. 

From films and soundtracks that are the source of pop-culture obsession (2020's Someone Great) to movies that garner dozens of award nominations and wins (2021's The Power of the Dog), there are some great things to watch on the streaming platform. For those wanting something lighter — and newer — this summer, check out Happiness is for Beginners, a rom-com based on a book with the same title.

At the bottom of the list is HBO Max, now just called Max, with the fewest original titles. Films like Let Them All Talk appealed to a smaller audience while the much anticipated Zack Snyder’s Justice League garnered an enormous amount of buzz. The latest release, Land of Gold, is already raking in good reviews with an 86% critic rating and 84% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

As for the most popular movies, Netflix has the most popular originals with 13 topping the list.

Amazon Prime Video is the best bet for those looking for a new favorite show, but Netflix is still the platform rolling out original new films that end up on everyone's must-watch lists. Snuggle up to Hulu and HBO for old favorites.

Even though Netflix is the first streaming platform most people probably think of, Disney+ holds the title of the platform where the most popular content is also the oldest content. That makes sense given The Walt Disney Company is celebrating its 100 Years of Wonder anniversary. The streaming platform is loaded with original content going all the way back to when Walt was still drawing them himself.

Hulu, also owned by The Walt Disney Company, has the oldest shows on average. Titles range from the early days of soap operas like General Hospital to TV classics like Gilligan’s Island. For old-school Nick at Night fans, Hulu can scratch that classic TV show itch.

Netflix has the newest shows, on average. As networks create their own streaming platforms, they’ve pulled their licensing agreements with Netflix and removed their shows. This leaves Netflix with an influx of original content that also happens to be newer. Since the streaming giant hasn’t been around as long as NBC or its cohorts, it makes sense the shows won’t be classics yet either. Although, Stranger Things may have a fan base that will rewatch it for decades.

Hulu and Paramount+ tied for having the oldest TV shows.

Disney+ may be shrinking its catalog of originals, but that doesn’t mean all the classics are going. In fact, because of the company’s long history, it boasts the oldest catalog of movies with an average of 10 years (although some are much older.) Even with original content getting removed, there’s still plenty to love on Disney+ even if a favorite show is on its way out.

Another Disney-owned streaming service, Hulu, tends to have the newest movies on average, with an average age of four years. Clock, a recently released horror title, might be just the thing to freshen up the feeds of horror fans. Or jump into The Hunger Games trilogy to reconnect with Katniss, Peeta, and Gale.

Disney+ had on average the oldest popular movies, with Home Alone (1990) topping the list.

Bottom line

Streaming is definitely king. It’s become so integrated into viewers' routines that it’s one of the issues at the center of the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike (essentially, writers aren’t getting paid living wages because there is so much older content on streaming platforms).

Try these tricks for a more optimized viewing experience when streaming platforms for content.

  • Organize passwords for each platform. It’s easy to lose track of passwords when subscribed to multiple streaming platforms, so use a password manager to keep them all organized.
  • Get access to titles outside of the U.S. Knowing how to watch Netflix with a VPN can be a helpful tool for not only more secure browsing, but accessing titles not yet available in a certain country.
  • Better internet speed, better stream quality. Learn how to increase internet speed so binge-watching sessions aren’t delayed by buffering.

Methodology

All About Cookies collected data on the 25 TV shows and movies that were most popular in 2022 on each streaming platform according to FlixPatrol. FlixPatrol's data was used to track which shows and movies were original releases for each platform. We then used Wikipedia and IMDB to determine the release or debut year of each piece of content, as well as which shows are currently still airing new episodes.

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Author Details
Mary lives in Los Angeles and has been a cybersecurity writer for over five years. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, her career in online security began in sales and content creation for a private cybersecurity firm.

Citations

[1] Following CES, Parks Associates Highlights New Research Showing 63% of U.S. Internet Households Own a Smart TV and 87% Subscribe to At Least One Streaming Service

[2] The Big Three’s Prime-Time Decline: A Technological and Social Context