You’ve probably heard the term “binge watching” lately. It refers to someone sitting down and watching an entire season of a TV show in one sitting. The term was an attempt by the TV networks to cast internet studios like Netflix in a bad light. Netflix recently commissioned a survey of their users to find out if binge watching was really the problem the archaic TV studios were making it out to be. What they found out was interesting. So is binge watching a problem? Netflix found that not only is it not a problem, but it is how TV viewers prefer to watch their TV shows. “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,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix in a statement. Give the people what they want. What a concept.
The survey results were interesting for how people got through their favorite shows. Netflix only examined users who finished a season within the space of a month. For one serialized drama, 25% of the viewers finished the entire 13-episode season in two days, while it took 48% of them one week to do so. The pace was pretty much the same for a very different kind of show—a sitcom with a 22-episode season: 16% of viewers finished the season in the equivalent of a weekend, while 47% completed it within one week.
With Netflix garnering several Golden Globe nominations and continuing to produce more and more hit shows, you can expect binge watching to be something that does not go away any time soon.
We are seeing the beginning of a paradigm shift in the TV world. 5 years from now, the TV landscape is going to be very different than it is today and it is all starting right now. We are not going to be tied to what the networks tell us we have to watch and we won’t have to watch when they tell us to. This is a good thing for all of us.