Making Sense of Binge Watching
By that Sunday, two percent of Netflix customers -- that's 634,000 households -- had watched all 13 episodes.
That's 13 hours of one TV show.
That is what we're now calling "binge watching!"
Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's "Sense-Making Project" said that the concept of binge watching really isn't new. Cable TV has done marathon broadcasts of programs for quite a while now.
And those streaming services make episodic TV programs particularly addictive. Not everybody plans to watch an entire season of a particular program. It just happens.
"The thing about serial narratives is that they end each one with a compelling question or a cliffhanger," said McBride. "And so, you finish a show and you are so compelled to watch the next one and you look at everybody else in the room and say -- 'one more.' And pretty soon, 13 hours have gone by."
The ability to watch a program from start to finish instead of week-to-week is changing our relationship with the tube.
"It's really changing how we relate to shows," McBride said. "Often times you will have a show that's getting you through a particularly difficult patch in life. Or you'll have a show that you equate with a certain relationship in your life, so you might watch this with your boyfriend or your spouse or your kids. And it brings up a whole etiquette question. If you are watching a show with another person, is it okay to go ahead when that person is out of town or otherwise busy? People are wrestling with this question and there's not a good answer to it."