2 in 3 Americans unable to get through TV and movie watch list

The average American has 13 TV shows and 16 movies on their watch list to get through — averaging 104 total hours — enough content to last for a globe-trotting flight around the world twice over.

That’s according to a survey of 2,000 adults which discovered 68% of Americans have a TV show and movie watch list so long that it’s “nearly impossible” for them to get through it.

Over seven in 10 (73%) have a list of shows and films they’ve been meaning to watch. Yet only 58% of them have made it through their entire list.

Meanwhile, of the 42% who have failed to make it through their list, they claim the biggest obstacles are dealing with the list consistently getting longer (43%), that it’s already too long (29%) or that it’s overwhelming (25%).

The most popular, well-known shows at the top of people’s current watch list include Stranger Things (24%), Game of Thrones (21%), The Walking Dead (21%), Breaking Bad (19%) and Squid Game (19%). Millennials are nearly twice as likely to have true crime shows on their watchlists than Gen-Z (45% compared to 26%).

Gen-Z, on the other hand, was found to have a penchant for sitcoms (38%). Gen X and Baby Boomers both prefer full-hour procedurals (50% and 58%, respectively).

The study, commissioned by the global streaming media platform Plex and conducted by OnePoll, found that 58% said they struggle to keep track of everything they want to watch, making organizing their watch list a “must.” 

When organizing the list of content they want to watch, 39% said they either use a note in their phone or a physical, written list to track shows and movies, while 40% say they just try to remember what they want to watch.

Women were found to be especially fond of keeping a mental list in their head — 46% said they try to remember what they want to watch, compared to just 32% of men. Meanwhile, 46% of men said they prefer using a note in their phones.

Nearly a third (31%) have had the content from their list recommended to them by friends or family. A quarter (25%) get recommendations from influencers or social media.

The average person subscribes to, or has access to, four different streaming platforms at any given time. Half said it’s a struggle to find out what streaming platform content is on, averaging 30 minutes flipping from one platform to another searching for something to watch.

Two-thirds (65%) said they would prefer watching something from their list before defaulting to something else — but it takes the average person a half hour and flipping back and forth between four different streaming platforms to decide on what to watch.

For over half (56%), they’ll opt to turn off the TV and find something else to do if they can’t find something to watch, and almost as many (55%) will end up re-watching an old favorite if they can’t find anything else. 


Stranger Things – 24%

Game of Thrones – 21%

The Walking Dead – 21%

Breaking Bad – 19%

Squid Game – 19%

The Crown – 18%

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – 18%

Euphoria – 18%

The Mandalorian – 18%

Better Call Saul – 18%

Friends – 17%

Avatar: The Last Airbender – 17%

Sherlock – 16%

Succession – 16%

Ted Lasso – 15%

Chris Price