According to a recent survey conducted for Netflix, 61 percent of TV streamers regularly engage in binge watching. The definition of binge watching is viewing between two to six episodes of a show in one sitting. It appears to be consistent across age demographics. Is this a new cultural phenomenon?
I have never been a joiner of clubs but I believe I am a card carrying member of this one. It all started a year ago when I was recovering from a terrible bout of Shingles. I was truly immobile and had great difficulty sleeping so lying on the couch at all hours became my place. My husband brought us into the here and now with a subscription to Netflix and I was off to the races.
The first and most obvious joy of watching a series through Netflix or other streaming channel is there are no commercials. With the advent of the DVR we learned to watch “taped” shows so we could fast forward through the never ending commecials for the pharmaceutical of the month. According to MarketingCharts, an average hour long TV show is 36% commercials. It feels like more to me but I will go with the experts. For me, there is nothing more distracting to a storyline than commercials, the ultimate disruption.
I love listening to stories and hearing the whole story so I can drink it in and let it envelop me. It’s like reading a really good book where you can transport yourself into the story and you can’t put the book down until you are finished. Ever have that experience? Binge reading, binge watching, kind of the same to me.
Back to Netflix and their season at a time approach. I love it. Netflix has given me full control over how I will watch the series of my choice. I can watch two or three episodes in one sitting or spread them out as long as I want. From wonderful British series to the many shows produced here in the US, there is a tremendous amount of choice in programming.
I had never watched the televised series of Breaking Bad or Homeland until this year. I knew they were touted as some of the best on TV but when I had a more demanding work schedule I just didn’t get around to it. I watched Breaking Bad over a couple months recently and can’t imagine watching it any differently. And I caught up on Homeland to bring me up to this season. Both incredibly well done series. Admittedly, they left me breathless at times due to the intensity of the storyline but they definitely transported me.
There are people in the television industry that feel binge watching is a bad thing, arguing that TV loses its power if we don’t watch it at a moderate pace. There is discussion that sensory overload from watching too many episodes in a short time may confuse the ending or leave the viewer with a sense of loss and sadness that the show has ended so abrubptly.
I don’t know about you but I have none of the above concerns and I think binge watching or marathon watching is an option that fits nicely with some people. It’s a personal choice. Just like reading a book. Some people devour them in one sitting and others take months or a year to finish. Luckily for all of us we have expanded choices.
I did binge Grace and Frankie this weekend, thus the reason all this was on my mind. It’s a short series of 30 minute episodes and easy to binge in between cooking, grandkids and weekend stuff. It didn’t disappoint and I feel fine this morning. No sadness over the end of the show, no confusion from over stimulation. Thanks Netflix!
Wishing you all a great week ahead and maybe even a little binge watching.