Surprise, surprise: Netflix says users love to binge-watch

Netflix Screenshot

It’s safe to say that 2013 was the year that binge-watching became ubiquitous in the global lexicon, with the rise in popularity of television available online as well as new series like Orange is the New Black catapulting into water cooler conversations. And Netflix finally has proof that it’s a real phenomenon, as an internal study shows that nearly three-quarters of users love to binge-watch their shows.

The study allowed 1,500 users to both culturally define the term “binge-watching” and rate their level of enjoyment about the activity. According to Netflix, 73 percent of those polled categorized the activity as “watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting,” and the name number of people said that they have positive feelings towards the practice.

In addition, 61 percent of users indicated that they binge-watch “regularly,” defined as watching two or three episodes in a week every few weeks, and more than one-third of users choose to postpone viewing an entire series to watch via streaming at a later date. Perhaps most importantly, nearly four out of five of those polled says that watching multiple episodes of the same show in a row actually makes it more enjoyable.

It’s the kind of news that makes television developers cheer and cable networks cringe: the convenience and immediacy of binge-watching has entranced the digital viewership, eschewing the classic ideal of “appointment television” for a complete story on-demand. There may be a marked shift in audience behavior at work, one that has a potential to upend the way media is packaged to a greater audience. Disney is already working on incorporating the binge-watching phenomenon into its new series for kids — it’s only a matter of time before more networks start working with the can of worms that Netflix has already watched.

So if you’re planning on popping some popcorn and taking in a television episode, or two, or seven, you are definitely not alone.


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