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From Tearjerkers to Action: Exploring What the World Is Watching by Genre in 2023

Get ready to dive into the world of TV and movie streaming to uncover the most popular genres in 2023. After extensive research, this engaging and informative overview explains the viral TV and movie streaming genres across the globe, highlighting key trends and regional differences.

Beatrice ManuelJackie LeavittJasna Mishevska

Written by Beatrice Manuel (Writer)

Reviewed by Jackie Leavitt (Co-Chief Editor)

Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska (Lead Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-01-19T08:51:31+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

The world of cinema is constantly evolving, so we’re here to unveil the most popular TV and movie genres streaming across the globe. From action-packed blockbusters to heartwarming rom-coms, there are many popular cinematic preferences that vary depending on the unique cultural identities of each region. 

To give you the most comprehensive and up-to-date information, we’ve looked at the seven major platforms — Netflix, Hulu, Max, Amazon, Disney+, Google and iTunes — and crunched the numbers across 18 genres. 

  • Drama is the most popular genre for streaming, with 28 countries preferring it. Action and animated movies tied for second place with 23 countries each. 
  • Animation reigns supreme in the Caribbean and South America, with countries like the Bahamas, Bolivia, Jamaica and Mexico having a high percentage of movies and shows in this genre.
  • Comedy has emerged as a surprising favorite among a diverse range of countries, with fans in countries as varied as Germany, Hong Kong, Kuwait and Romania.
  • India’s preference for action reflects the country’s rich history of martial arts and adventure.
  • Westerns are still beloved in Canada, a country famous for its wide-open spaces and rugged landscapes.
  • Romance, thrillers and documentaries were notably absent as top genre preferences.

Continue reading and dive into the fascinating world of cultural, entertainment and cinematic trends that are keeping global audiences on their toes today.

Exploring What the World is Watching 01
Click to enlarge the map: popular streaming genres around the world.

Our research includes a total of 18 total genres: action, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, superhero, animated, family, comedy, romance, unscripted, musical, drama, crime, thriller, horror, Western, war and documentary.

  1. Drama
  2. Action
  3. Animation
  4. Comedy
  1. Crime
  2. Fantasy
  3. Horror
  4. Western
  1. War
  2. Romance
  3. Thriller
  4. Documentary

Our study reveals that of the 18 genres, the drama, action, animated and comedy programs are the four most commonly favored genres across the globe

However, specific regions have niche favorites depending on their unique cultural preferences. For example, Canada has a fondness for Westerns, while fantasy movies and shows ranked the highest in Israel. 

On the other hand, several genres did not take the top spot anywhere, with war movies, romance, thriller and documentary being the least preferred. Others, such as horror and the science fiction genre were popular, but not as popular as we expected given the cultural impact of sci-fi movies like the Star Wars franchise.

Most Popular Streaming Genres: 91 Countries

If we look at the most popular genres, they have something in common: They offer an escape from reality. Streaming services continue to be a go-to source of entertainment for people worldwide. Whether it’s a quick laugh from a comedy or the thrills of a horror movie, viewers are turning to these genres for a temporary reprieve from their daily lives.

It’s fascinating to see how different regions and groups of countries have unique tastes in streaming movie and TV show genres. In terms of geographical location, the most popular genres can vary. For example, action tops in Asia, while Scandinavian countries tend to favor dramas.

On the other hand, North American audiences from island countries like the Bahamas and Jamaica prefer animated movies, with at least a third of their population watching the genre.

In the United States, dramas are the most popular, with more than one in four viewers preferring the genre over others. In South America, especially with viewers in Brazil and Peru, animated movies and series are again a big hit, with over one in six people in Brazil and at least one in five people in Peru drawn to their escapism.

In Asia, the streaming landscape is dominated by action in India, Japan and Indonesia, where one in six people voted for their death-defying stunts. More than a quarter of people in Pakistan enjoy comedies. Israel prefers the fantasy genre, with at least one in five tuning in.

Overall, the most popular movie and TV genres for streaming demonstrate that viewers seek diverse experiences. Whether through action-packed blockbusters or poignant dramas, audiences want stories that capture their attention and imagination.

The most popular TV and movie genres for streaming are drama, action and animation. However, the preferences differ in various regions and countries. There are several exciting trends regarding the most popular movie genres for streaming. Here are some of the key takeaways from the data.

Preferred Genres:Top in Number of Countries
🎭 Drama28
🥋 Action23
🧸 Animated23
🤣 Comedy10
👨‍⚖️ Crime2
🚀 Sci-Fi2
🏰 Fantasy1
👻 Horror1
🤠 Western1

A World of Emotion: Drama Ranks as Top

Drama has proven to be the most preferred movie genre in 28 countries worldwide. While the reasons for this preference vary by country, one commonality is the genre’s ability to evoke strong audience emotions. 

With the growing demand for heart-wrenching stories and gripping performances, drama movies are stealing the spotlight in many regions.

In English-speaking countries, drama’s popularity may stem from its ability to capture unique cultural nuances and social norms. For instance, in the U.K. (where one in six people enjoy a drama movie), audiences may prefer the genre due to the country’s rich history and strong theater tradition.

Argentina, which shares the same ratio as the U.K., could favor dramas due to the country’s strong cultural identity and history of political turmoil. The genre has been used as a tool for social commentary and political critique.

One factor in drama’s popularity is its ability to address universal themes like love, loss and personal growth. These themes resonate with audiences across cultures and create a powerful emotional connection. Furthermore, drama films showcase nuanced performances from actors and complex storytelling techniques that captivate viewers.

Animation-Loving Lands

According to our data, animation is popular in countries in or near the Alps and tropic regions. Countries like Italy and Austria have a strong love for visually striking and imaginative storytelling. In Italy, animated movies make up a significant portion of the country’s box office revenue.

In tropical countries such as Jamaica and the Bahamas, movies like Moana and Coco were a big hit because of their colorful animation and cultural representation.

From the Alps to the tropics, animation is a universal favorite among audiences worldwide.

Action Movies in the Middle East

Our study found that action is the most preferred genre in many Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Action offers universal appeal due to its emphasis on physical prowess, intense action sequences and adrenaline-pumping soundtracks to create an immersive and thrilling experience for viewers.

Streaming platforms are continuing to deliver adrenaline-pumping action movies for global audiences in light of the high demand for the genre.

Action is also the most preferred genre in certain European countries like the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and the Netherlands. This is perhaps thanks to action’s ability to transcend language barriers, as viewers from different countries and cultures can appreciate the genre’s visual spectacle and high-octane energy.

Canada’s Love for Westerns

Our research suggests that Westerns are the favorite genre of Canada. This may be due to the country’s rich history of exploration and settlement in the West. The genre has become an essential part of Canadian culture and identity, and it continues to captivate audiences today.

If you’re ready to be transported into the Wild West with iconic cowboy hats and gun-slinging action, Western-genre movies are for you. 

In addition to its cultural significance, the Western genre emphasizes strong characters and compelling storytelling. Many Western films feature complex and flawed protagonists whose journeys can be inspiring and heartbreaking. Furthermore, the genre’s emphasis on authentic historical details can make it fascinating and educational.

Asians Crave Comedy Films

Comedy movies are particularly popular in South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Maldives, with more than a quarter of respondents in each country stating their preference for this genre. This could come down to the cultural significance of humor in these regions, where the comedy genre is often used to cope with life’s challenges.

From the Americas to Europe, laughter truly is a universal language, with many countries sharing a love for lighthearted, humorous entertainment.

In European countries like France and Romania, the preference for comedy is also relatively high. These countries have a long history of producing some of the world’s most acclaimed comedians and comic writers. Their contributions to the genre have influenced comedic traditions in many other parts of the world.

The Vanishing Genre: Where Has Romance Gone?

While romance is often assumed to be among the most watched movie genres, the data we gathered tells a different story. Our study found that romance and romantic comedy are not the most preferred genre among the analyzed countries.

The romance genre has taken a back seat on streaming platforms in many countries worldwide. 

However, romance movies are still a favorite in other countries, including Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Greece and Argentina. These countries have unique cultural and social factors that may contribute to their love of romantic movies. In other countries, audience preferences have shifted toward action, drama and comedy. 


Our research sought to identify the most popular genre in each region across seven well-known streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, Disney, Google and iTunes. To do this, we gathered information from This website offers real-time information on popular movies and TV episodes on different streaming services.

We determined the average popularity of genres in each nation using information gathered from all seven platforms. Based on the standard of the data collected, the findings of our analysis demonstrate the most popular genre in each country.

Since we analyzed 18 genres, the percentages for each genre are relatively low. When we mention that “one in four” or “one in six” people watch movies in specific genres, it may seem like a small percentage, but it can still represent a significant number of viewers.

Also note that not all streaming services had worldwide data, and only data for its audience. For example, Hulu is available only in the U.S., so it has data only on the U.S. Similarly, Amazon had data only for Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In conclusion, our exploration of the most famous movie genres for streaming in 2023 has revealed that audiences seek diverse experiences from their streaming services. From action-packed blockbusters to heartwarming rom-coms, there is something for everyone in the world of streaming movies.

This data also highlights the importance of catering to local preferences and offering a well-rounded selection of movies that resonates with a global audience. By understanding these trends, streaming services can continue to provide engaging content and keep audiences coming back for more. 

What do you consider to be the top movie genres? Are you an outlier who prefers the thriller or horror genre options, or someone who prefers the most popular film genres of drama and adventure movies? Thank you for reading; remember to let us know your favorite movie genre for streaming in the comments!


  • The most watched movie genre varies by region and country, but in general, the most popular categories are action, drama, comedy and animated films and shows.

  • The most common favorite genre is drama, followed closely by action and animated films and shows.

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