New data from Netflix, following research by Harris Interactive confirms that binge-watching is a common activity for 61% of adults polled. Of the 1500 adult users of the streaming video service, just under two-thirds stated they watched multiple episodes of the same show about once a week, with 73% confirming that for them binge-watching entailed between two and four episodes at a time.
This would suggest that marathon bingeing – watching all episodes of a series, or even multiple series in one go – is practised by fewer subscribers, but that won’t stop Netflix releasing a whole season in one go. Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix said that “our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace”. Furthermore, 73% of total respondents also confirmed that they felt positively about dedicating a prolonged amount of time on this activity, rather than feel guilty about it.
51% of those surveyed like to binge with company, or at least one other person and will save episodes to watch later when the person they want to watch with is around. 38% said they prefer to watch alone though, thanks very much.
To accompany the Harris findings, Netflix also recruited cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken to “trace the evolution of binge watching” and “explore their changing TV behaviors”. McCracken found that:
Binge watching has really taken off due to a perfect storm of better TV, our current economic climate and the digital explosion of the last few years. And now that services like Netflix have given consumers control over their TV viewing, they have declared a new way to watch. TV viewers are no longer zoning out as a way to forget about their day, they are tuning in, on their own schedule, to a different world. Getting immersed in multiple episodes or even multiple seasons of a show over a few weeks is a new kind of escapism that is especially welcomed today.
In other Netflix news, the second trailer for the second series of “House of Cards” is now online and Frank is taking no prisoners. All 14 episodes are being released on the 14th February 2014.