While 2021 wasn’t the “return to normal” that we were all hoping for, one thing that definitely held true, and was consistent amidst change, was people’s love of TV. To no surprise, our viewers watched a lot of content across traditional TV and streaming this past year. For many, TV has been a source of relaxation and a means of appreciation, with content becoming a way to stay connected with family and friends, escape reality, and a source of stability in our ever-changing world. 

As we head into 2022, we wanted to take a look back at some top TV moments and trends we’ve seen this past year across Disney.

TV Helped Get Us Through 2021

Just like in 2020, Disney viewers* shared that this year TV kept them entertained (97%), helped them relax (94%), took their mind off things (93%) and gave them something to look forward to (93%). In fact, 92% of Disney viewers shared that they actually watched the same (58%) or more content (34%) this year compared to last year.

What did they watch? While most shared that they watched more movies and TV series, they also binged more and caught up on shows they’ve missed.

Live Sports For The Win

Viewers were excited about the return of sports after months on hiatus, especially when it came to football. NFL football topped the charts for the top-streamed Live sports event. People also tuned into sports commentary programming like SportsCenter and College GameDay to fully engage with game coverage.

The Biggest TV Moments

The #1 most watched TWDC telecast of the year was the ABC coverage of the NFL Wild Card Game with an average of 19MM viewers tuning in. Other top shows among adult viewers include The Bachelor, Grey’s Anatomy, and American Idol.

Viewers Wanted to Stay Informed

Our viewers watched the news as a way to stay up to date on events happening around the world with ABC News as their main news source. Good Morning America and World News Tonight were the most watched morning and evening news shows.

The Comfort of Classics

Disney classics made up 9 of our top 10 most watched movies across The Walt Disney Company networks. This list features The Lion King, Cinderella, Tangled, Finding Dory, Incredibles 2, Princess and the Frog, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 4. On Hulu, Shrek, Sonic: The Hedgehog, The Croods: A New Age, and Trolls World Tour filled out the top movie spots in 2021, continuing the trend of viewers leaning into films that help them bond with family.

Escaping with Reality TV

Viewers across the Disney networks tuned into The Bachelor making it the #1 reality show and #1 overall show on ABC. On Hulu, The D’Amelio Show became the most watched unscripted series in 2021.

When and What Our Viewers Streamed Most in 2021

Whether it’s to take a break during the day or escape, Hulu viewers love to stream! Our viewers watched more hours of TV on January 31 than any other day, making it the most streamed day of the year! Subscribers woke up to watch the previous evening’s Saturday Night Live episode hosted by John Krasinski, and other subscribers that day had their eye on the links, logging in to check out golf’s finest at the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour.

Original Programming Kept Streamers Hooked

When it came to 2021 releases, Hulu Originals rose to the top across both new and returning content.  Nine Perfect Strangers set a new record as Hulu’s most-watched series EVER. In fact, Hulu Originals dominated this year’s overall viewing hours, with Nine Perfect Strangers, Only Murders in the Building, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The New York Times Presents ‘Framing Britney Spears’ taking 19 of the top 20 most watched episodes slots. And topping the charts as the most watched episode of any Original on Hulu in 2021 was The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 3: The Crossing, which also happened to be star Elisabeth Moss’s directorial debut!

Animated Series Continued to be a Fan Favorite

Adults love their animated series just as much as kids. Viewers across the Disney networks enjoyed sitting back, relaxing, and watching Adult Animation series.And who doesn’t love a good binge session after scrolling to find the perfect show to watch? Always a staple among Hulu viewers, adult animation was the #1 genre based on hours watched. 

We’re Ready to Tackle 2022

There is a lot to look forward to this year! Whether it’s starting a new series or spending the day bingeing, our viewers anticipate consuming even more TV in 2022.

Now more than ever, we are all appreciative of TV content and the joys that come along with it. As we look ahead to 2022 don’t forget to make your watchlist full of shows and movies — and maybe even consider making “watching more TV content” as one of your New Year’s Resolutions!

Source: Hulu 1P Data, Hours Watched, Jan – Nov 2021

Source: Hulu 1P Data, Hours Watched, Jan – Nov 2021

Source: Hulu Internal, 1/1/20-10/31/21

Source: Hulu Internal, Active Users 1/1/21-10/31/21

Source: Hulu Internal—Minutes Watched, Jan 2021 – Oct 2021 vs. Jan 2020 – Oct 2020

Source: Nielsen (NNTV), 12/28/20-11/28/21, main telecasts, data is P2+ C7

Source: Nielsen (NNTV), 12/28/20-11/28/21, excluding sports/news/repeats/breakouts and programs with less than 5 telecasts, data is A18-49+ C7

Source: Nielsen (NNTV), 12/28/20-11/28/21, excluding sports/news/repeats/breakouts and programs with less than 5 telecasts, data is A18-49+ C7

Source: Nielsen/Internal Metrics

Source: Talkwalker, Social Content Ratings

*Source: The Disney Dialogue, End of Year Survey, December 2021