The rise of binging: how streaming has changed our TV habits
In recent years, the way we consume television has undergone a radical transformation. Gone are the days of rushing home to catch our favorite shows at a particular time of day. Instead, we can now watch TV on a range of devices, whenever and wherever we choose. This shift has been largely driven by the popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video – services that enable us to binge-watch entire seasons of our favorite shows in one sitting.
But why has binging become so popular? And what impact is it having on our TV habits, both good and bad? In this article, we’ll explore the rise of binging, and examine its impact on our viewing habits and our lives.
The Rise of Binging
The idea of watching entire TV seasons in one go is not a new one. DVD box sets of popular shows have been on sale for years, enabling fans to watch their favorite shows at their own pace. However, it was the arrival of streaming services that really turned binging into a mainstream phenomenon.
Netflix, the first major streaming service, launched in 2007, with a library of largely older TV shows and movies. However, it was the launch of the company’s original programming in 2013 that really changed the game. House of Cards, the first of Netflix’s original shows, was released in its entirety on February 1, 2013. For the first time, viewers could watch an entire TV season in one go, rather than waiting for new episodes to be released each week. The show was a huge success, both critically and commercially, leading Netflix to release more original programming, such as Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, and The Crown, which followed the same model.
Other streaming services quickly followed suit, with Hulu and Amazon Prime Video also releasing their own original programming in recent years. As a result, binging has become a major part of how we watch TV.
The Impact of Binging on Our TV Habits
The rise of binging has had a major impact on our TV habits, both in terms of how much we watch, and what we watch.
Firstly, binging has encouraged us to watch more TV. It’s no longer a case of watching one or two episodes per week, but instead sitting down and watching entire seasons in a single sitting. According to a study by Deloitte, over 70% of US consumers now binge-watch TV shows at least once a month, with many watching multiple episodes in one go. This translates into more hours spent watching TV overall – a trend that has been accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people are spending more time at home.
However, while binging may encourage more TV watching overall, it also has some downsides. One is that it can lead to a lack of diversity in what we watch. When binging, people tend to stick to genres and shows they know they will like. As a result, we can miss out on new and exciting content. Another negative consequence of binging is that it can lead to a decline in social interaction. Instead of gathering around the water cooler to discuss the latest episodes of our favorite shows, we’re watching them alone on our devices.
Overall, the impact of binging on our TV habits is mixed. While it can lead to more TV watching overall and help us catch up on shows we’ve missed, it also has the potential to limit our viewing choices and reduce social interaction.
Best Practices, Tips and Tricks for Binging
If you’re going to binge-watch TV shows, there are some best practices, tips, and tricks to bear in mind.
1. Set a time limit – Binging can be addictive, so it’s important to set yourself a time limit before you start. Decide how many episodes you want to watch in one sitting, and stick to it. This will help to prevent you from watching until the early hours of the morning.
2. Take breaks – It’s important to take regular breaks during a binging session. Make sure you move around, stretch your legs, and give your eyes a rest from the screen.
3. Mix it up – Instead of binging on one genre or show, mix it up. Watch a comedy, then a drama, then a documentary. This will help to keep things fresh and prevent you from getting bored.
4. Don’t skip the intro – Many streaming services allow you to skip the opening credits of a TV show. However, watching the intro can help you to get into the mood of the show and provide a break between episodes.
5. Avoid spoilers – If you’re planning to binge-watch a show with friends, make sure you avoid spoilers. It’s common for people to post spoilers on social media, so be careful what you read.
Q: Is binging bad for you?
A: Binging can be addictive and can lead to less diversity in what you watch, but it’s not necessarily “bad” for you. As with anything, moderation is key.
Q: Why do people binge-watch TV shows?
A: People binge-watch TV shows because it’s convenient, allows them to catch up on missed episodes, and provides a sense of satisfaction from completing a series.
Q: What is the best way to binge-watch TV shows?
A: The best way to binge-watch TV shows is to set a time limit, take breaks, mix it up, watch the intro, and avoid spoilers.