With all sorts of technology and devices at our fingertips, it has become easier than ever to binge-watch our favorite TV shows. In fact, according to a recent VeraQuest survey among 3,000 U.S. adults, 85% of Americans participate in the TV binge-watching phenomenon, with nearly a quarter (23%) saying they binge-watch “frequently”.
Not only are Americans binge-watching often, but when we do so, we’re sometimes going all-in. More than one-fourth (26%) of binge-watchers say that at one time or another they’ve watched “10 or more” episodes of a single TV program in one sitting!
Millennials represent the largest binge-watching age cohort, with 94% claiming to partake in the behavior, including 36% who claim to binge-watch “frequently”. Millennials are also far more likely to have watched “10 or more” episodes in one sitting (38%, compared to 23% among GenXers, 15% among Baby Boomers, and 3% among older generations).
So how does a binge-watching session unfold, and what’s the binge-watching environment like? Nearly two-thirds (64%) of binge-watchers say their TV benders are typically unplanned – “it just happens”. And when it does happen, the majority (62%) say they’re binge-watching alone. Just over one-third (36%) typically watch with one other person, while only 2% binge-watch with larger groups.
The majority (57%) of binge-watchers do so through a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, etc. Far fewer watch back-to-back re-runs/”marathons” of syndicated shows on regular TV (32%) or use their cable/satellite provider’s “on-demand” service (27%). And even fewer binge-watch via their DVR (22%) or using DVD’s/video tapes of TV show seasons (21%).
Not surprisingly, given the absence of/limited number of commercial breaks, binge-watchers greatly prefer using streaming services for TV binging over all other services (50% prefer streaming services, while the second-strongest preference is for watching re-runs/”marathons” on regular TV, at only 17%). Streaming is the preferred mode for binge-watching among Millennials (62%), GenXers (52%), and Baby Boomers to an extent (34%), while the older generations show a slight preference for watching re-runs/”marathons” on regular TV (33%).
Ok, so binge-watchers must feel guilty or lazy, given all the free time consumed by this practice…right? Not as much as you’d think. While a modest 35% say they do feel “lazy” while binge-watching a TV show, far more binge-watchers report feeling “content/satisfied” (53%), and nearly one-third (32%) say they feel “happy/excited” while binge-watching! I personally can relate to the latter – while binge-watching the first three seasons of Game of Thrones (I was late to the party), there was nothing I’d rather have been doing at the time, and I just had to watch the next episode once one was finished! Guilt-shmilt! Americans clearly agree with my feelings on the matter, as only 9% report feeling “guilty” while binge-watching.
What is the largest number of episodes of a single TV program that you’ve ever watched in one sitting? Do you binge-watch regularly, no matter what the show is, or do you reserve binge-watching for only your very favorite shows?