Published on August 31, 2020


title graphic for the shows and movies survey


During the coronavirus pandemic and the quarantine it has caused, everyday life was interrupted overnight. Large gatherings and typical entertainment options like concerts and sporting events were canceled as people the world over were encouraged to stay indoors by government leaders and health officials. With most forms of entertainment put on hold and mobility-limited, billions of people have turned to an old friend to keep them occupied: their televisions. 


Television shows and movies have become one of the only ways available for people to entertain themselves and, as a result, screened entertainment consumption went through the roof, as evidenced by the fact that Netflix reported over 16 million new subscribers signed up for their service in the first three months of 2020. People took their time indoors to binge-watch old and new shows, work their way through lists of movies they’ve been meaning to get around to, and revisiting classics and old favorites of the silver screen. 


Most of that content was produced in the United States, thanks to the massive film and TV industries. In this modern era of technology and easy global distribution, it doesn’t matter where on earth you live; as long as you have an internet connection it is possible to enjoy the latest blockbuster from Hollywood. 


As a company that specializes in global relocation services, this increased globalization of the entertainment industry is something we at CapRelo are in full support of. Being able to watch your favorite American shows and movies can make the transition easier for the Americans who are moving overseas for work. On the flip side, being able to get an understanding of American culture through entertainment can give anyone moving to the US from somewhere else a leg up when it comes to assimilating. 


With all of that in mind, we wanted to take a look at which bits of American popular culture were the most popular around the world during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. To do so, we turned to Google Trends to collect data on search volume for 80 different American-made television shows and 240 Hollywood films during an eight-week period from the end of February through the end of April, when the pandemic was in full swing all around the globe. We then mapped out our findings, which you can see below! 


Map of the Most Popular American TV Shows In Different Countries


The 80 television shows we ran through Google Trends included a mixture of shows currently still on the air and classics that first hit the airwaves as far back as the 1980s. We then mapped out the most-searched show in 55 countries around the world, the results of which can be seen above. While we have another graphic farther down this post giving greater detail on exactly how many countries different productions were the most popular, we can tell you now that the Meghan Markle show Suits was the best performing show, taking the top spot in six countries. Grey’s Anatomy finished second, as people in four different countries turned to the medical drama more than any other show during the global medical crisis. 


Map of the Most Popular American Movies In Different Countries


Much like with the TV shows, we used a combination of the top-ranked and grossing films from the last few years in a number of genres as well as several user-compiled lists of the all-time most classic and rewatchable movies to run our film evaluation. As a result, our analysis included films as new as Trolls World Tour which came out DURING the pandemic all the way back to movies as old as 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. Our film findings are above, but we can tell you that Pixar’s Toy Story 4 was number one in the most countries, with four. Only seven total films were top-searched in more than one country, so we feel that it is very revealing that films with dystopian settings such as 28 Weeks Later, Bird Box, and The Matrix all took the top spot in multiple countries.     


Map of the Most Popular American Movies And TV Shows In Europe


How Many Countries Different American Shows And Movies Were Most Searched In


For a straightforward listing of how many countries different shows and movies were the most popular in, we compiled these handy charts showing the true diversity of entertainment preferences around the world during the quarantine. We also made a specific graphic showing the results in Europe in more detail.  

We hope that everyone stays safe and sound inside during these unprecedented times, with some top-notch television and films to stay entertained. And once it is finally time to get out into the world again, remember that CapRelo will be here for all your global relocation needs.