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YouTube bests Netflix, Disney+ as the top streamer of 2023


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MrBeast in a wide brimmed straw hat next to friend Kris Tyson

For the past 12 months, the top-watched streaming service on televisions around the world has not been industry leaders like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+ — it's been YouTube.

Data insights giant Nielsen announced that, as of today, YouTube has been the top streaming platform by watch time for one full year. Globally, viewers watch an average of more than 1 billion hours of YouTube content on their TVs every day. This includes not only long-form YouTube content but Youtube Shorts as well. In a blog post, YouTube shared that views of Shorts on connected TVs grew by more than 100 percent from January to September 2023.

The Nielsen stats did not include data from YouTubeTV, a separate app for streaming live television.

It is impossible for streamers to compete with vast expense of YouTube's content library. For example, more than 500 hours of video was uploaded to YouTube every minute in 2022. That's more than 260 million hours of video every year. Netflix, by comparison, has an estimated 18,000 titles, though the actual amount available to viewers varies by region.

Netflix still holds the crown for the top-watched title for January — Fool Me Once — which was viewed for 6.5 billion minutes. Bluey, on Disney+, and Reacher, on Amazon Prime Video, clocked in with 5.5 billion minutes and 4.3 billion minutes, respectively.

But if you break down those stats, YouTube actually isn't that far behind. Fool Me Once is an eight-part Netflix series with episodes running between 35 and 56 minutes. But just one of the most-watched videos on YouTube from January, MrBeast's "$1 vs $250,000,000 Private Island!", has 136 million views and a 17-minute run time, which means the total watch time for that single video could be as much as 2.3 billion minutes. Make that into an eight-part series, and you're looking at more than 18 billion minutes of watch time for episodes less than 20 minutes long.

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