Disney’s Craig Erwich Touts Viewership Stats: ‘Abbott Elementary’ Jumped 30% With Season 2, ‘The Rookie’ Hits 500 Million Total Streaming Hours

Titles across the Walt Disney library were viewed for a total of 54 billion hours in the U.S. in 2023 according to Disney Television Group president Craig Erwich, who says this number puts the company 10 billion hours above its closest competitor.

Erwich touted the stat during a Q&A at the Television Critics Association’s winter 2024 press tour. Addressing the TCA for the first time in his tenure as president, Erwich said, “Since I started, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how we decide what goes on linear vs. streaming. I had one resolution this year, and it’s to get people thinking differently on this topic. It’s not one versus the other; ‘versus’ implies an opposition or comparison.”

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“These are complementary platforms which reach two very different types of viewers, and they’re non-duplicative,” he continued, before detailing a host of viewership information about how Disney’s linear programming performs on streaming platforms and vice versa.

Among the highlights Erwich mentioned was the growth of “Abbott Elementary.” According to Multiplatform + 35 data, Season 2 reached 30% more viewers than Season 1 did. The comedy series currently ranks as ABC’s No. 1 most-watched series on Hulu, and has delivered the network’s strongest season average viewership in MP+35 since “Modern Family” concluded in 2020.

Following “Abbott” as the No. 2 most-streamed ABC show is “The Rookie.” Soon to head into its sixth season, the Nathan Fillion-led crime drama has been viewed for a total of 500 million hours on Hulu. Interestingly, nearly half of that streaming viewership has occurred over the last year, suggesting major growth, as the series has been on the air since 2018.

Hulu original “Only Murders in the Building” had its broadcast debut last month when ABC ran all 10 episodes of Season 3 over the course of four weeks, during which the series reached 11 million linear viewers.

“The Golden Bachelor” was the biggest-ever Hulu premiere for an ABC series based on 35 days of viewership, with more than one-third of Hulu viewers being completely new to “The Bachelor” franchise. The inaugural season reached 43 million viewers across platforms.

Disney also says that the premiere of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” available on both Hulu and Disney+, was the most-watched episode of television in the U.S. through its debut week. The series has been viewed for more than 110 million hours to date.

And as revealed in a major report recently released by Nielsen about U.S. streaming viewership throughout 2023, “Bluey” was the No. 2 most-streamed series across all platforms, beat only by “Suits.” The animated preschool series achieved this with 43.9 billion minutes — or 731.7 million hours — watched throughout the year. But when factoring in viewership in other countries, “Grey’s Anatomy” was Disney’s most-watched title of 2023, racking up over 1 billion hours viewed.

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