Watchlists Account For Hundreds Of Hours Of Unwatched Material

The number of streaming options today are seemingly endless, and Americans’ watchlists are growing longer as many continue to discover must-watch content. New research conducted by OnePoll* on behalf of Plex, the free global streaming media platform, reveals that the average American has 13 TV shows and 16 movies on their watchlist to get through — averaging a total of 104 hours — which is enough content to last two whole flights around the world.

The study of 2,000 Americans found that 68% keep a TV show and movie watchlist so lengthy, it’s “nearly impossible” for them to get through. While over 7 in 10 (73%) keep a list of shows and films they plan to watch, more than half (58%) said they struggle to keep track of everything they want to watch.

The research also revealed:

  • Discovering content to watch is a challenge: Half of Americans said it’s a struggle to find what streaming platform content is available on, averaging 30 minutes of flipping through four different streaming services before deciding on what to watch.
  • Getting through a watchlist is not easy: Of the 42% of Americans who haven’t made it through their watchlist, the biggest obstacles preventing them from completing the list are that it’s consistently getting longer (43%), it’s already too long (29%) or it’s overwhelming (25%).
  • New, buzzy TV serials are the most popular for watchlists: Stranger Things topped Americans’ watchlists as the TV show they’d most like to watch, followed by Game of Thrones (21%) The Walking Dead (21%), Breaking Bad (19%) and Squid Game (19%).
  • Preferred TV show genre varies by generation: While Millennials are nearly twice (45%) as likely than Gen Z (26%) to have true crime shows on their watchlists, sitcoms are most popular on Zoomers’ lists (38%). Meanwhile, Gen X and baby boomers both prefer full-hour procedurals (50% and 58%, respectively).
  • Men and women prefer different watchlist formats: Nearly half (46%) of women simply try to remember what they want to watch, and the same number of men (46%) keep a note on their phones for their watchlists.

“With new content constantly being released to streaming services, it can be difficult to keep track of it all,” said Jason Williams, Product Director at Plex. “With Plex Universal Watchlist, consumers can easily stay updated on their favorite movies and shows across all major streaming platforms, even as their favorite content moves or becomes available on other services. Our goal is to make the streaming experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible.”

Earlier this year, Plex launched with two new features, Discover and Universal Watchlist, to alleviate many of the pain points that plague consumers subscribed to multiple streaming services by making it easy to stay on top of your favorite movies and shows. With Discover, simply search for a title to find where it is streaming. If it’s available on a streaming service you have, you can launch it directly from Plex, eliminating time wasted switching from app to app. Users can also easily add any titles to one Universal Watchlist on the Plex app, regardless of where the content is available, making it easier to remember what you want to watch across streaming apps and networks.

Simply having a list of shows and movies does not cut it for most Americans with 58% reporting that maintaining an organized watchlist is a “must” to ensure they can cross off content from their list. While two-thirds (65%) prefer watching content from their list before defaulting to something else, over half (56%) turn off the TV and find something else to do if they can’t find something to watch, and 55% opt for re-watching a show or movie.

To start discovering content and building your Universal Watchlist, open the Plex app on your favorite platform or visit for more information.

*Survey of 2,000 Americans commissioned by Plex and conducted by OnePoll, July 2022