Cobra Kai, Bridgerton Are The Top-Watched Streaming Shows For 2021 So Far

Karate kicks and Regency romance are tops in the streaming world.


We got our kicks in early this year when Cobra Kai Season 3, the latest in the adventures of Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, hit Netflix on New Years' Day, and the show is doing well for Netflix, according to ratings tracking firm Nielsen.

Nielsen released the latest ratings for streaming shows this week, covering the week of January 4 to January 10. Cobra Kai tops the list with viewers watching 2.1 billion minutes worth of nostalgic martial arts action in that period. Bridgerton followed with 1.6 billion hours. The list for that period is dominated almost entirely by Netflix. The only non-Netflix show to make the list is The Mandalorian in 6th place.

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Now Playing: Cobra Kai Season 3 Breakdown & Best Moments

Original content dominated, with streams of acquired shows--stuff from Network and Cable TV--like Criminal Minds, Grey's Anatomy, and Schitt's Creek clocking in less than half the stream time of Cobra Kai and Bridgerton. Nielsen SVP of Product Strategy Brian Fuhrer points out that Netflix's acquired Spanish-language series, Mariposa De Barrio, is a standout on the list of acquired shows otherwise filled out by popular American programs. Disney+ did significantly better on the cinematic front, topping out the list with Pixar's Soul, followed by Netflix's We Can Be Heroes. Moana and Frozen II made the list, too.

These ratings can be a bit misleading, though. Netflix bases its viewership numbers on just two minutes of viewing time, and Nielsen appears to be applying that to other streaming services regardless of whether they also use it. There's also the matter of runtime to be taken into account with any of these. Bridgerton's 1.6 billion hours came from around 8 hours of content, versus about 12 hours for Cobra Kai. That's something to keep in mind as you check out any of the 52+ movies Netflix plans to release throughout 2021.

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