Netflix lures, hooks, and reels in binge-watchers

Bingeing has turned into an unhealthy addiction encouraged by Netflix

March 7, 2016


Photo via under Creative Commons License

Poster for season 3 of “The Following”

Since 1997, Netflix has dominated the way people all over the world watch movies and television shows. Since the start of this major streaming platform, Netflix has grown worldwide and has become a force to be reckoned with for all major networks on TV and cable.

According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, Netflix reached 75 million paid subscribers worldwide by the end of 2015, which accounted for the 42.5 billion hours spent watching movies and television shows on the streaming platform in 2015 alone.

Netflix has given users all across the world an opportunity to start binge watching by giving them control over their viewing schedule. According to a statement released by Netflix, not only is Netlfix proud of what binge watching has become, but they strongly encourage it.

Netflix commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a survey on paid users in an attempt to see how many of them binge watch on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, 61 percent of all users surveyed admitted to binging at least one television show a week, and 73 percent of them have positive feelings towards it

In an attempt to support this behavior, Netflix releases the entire season of each original series on one date. House of Cards, Daredevil, Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Bloodline and others all drop every episode in their respective seasons at once rather than one episode per week like network television shows.

Actor Kevin Spacey credits binge watching as one of the factors for making Netflix shows such as House of Cards such huge successes. “The audience wants control. They want freedom,” Spacey said in an interview with BBC. “If they want to binge, we should let them binge.”

It’s not only Netflix Originals that get binged; many other shows that have already completed airing or have multiple seasons give viewers the chance to binge until caught up or finished. The only stipulation is that it must be on Netflix or some sort of streaming platform so the viewer has control over watching all episodes.

Senior Christine Sarkoshyan started watching The Following on Netflix even though it originally aired on Fox in 2013. The show wrapped up after three seasons, which ended in 2015. For new up-and-coming fans, all three seasons are available on Netflix. “I have been watching [The Following] for less than two weeks and I’m almost done with the third season,” Sarkoshyan said. “I love the fact that I’m finishing a show that was airing on TV for two years in less than two weeks on Netflix.” After being asked what she thinks of the allowance to binge watch, she said, “Having control over all episodes at once is so great because I don’t have to worry about missing an important episode while I’m at work or something.”

There is also a very noticeable difference after you finish bingeing a show on Netflix until the point where you are caught up with what is airing on TV and you have to slow down your watching rate. Senior Patrick Castro binged the first three seasons of Scandal on Netflix and was hooked. While Season 4 was airing one episode a week on ABC, Castro got caught up and had to drastically change his watching habits.
“I was used to watching four or five episodes a day, or whenever I wanted, but now I can only watch one episode every Thursday night for a couple months,” Castro said. “Then the show takes a season break and I have to wait a couple more months to watch again.” Castro, like many other people, have been following the show since (currently on Season 5), but would enjoy it much more if he had control over his viewing schedule.

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