Gone are the days where commercial breaks slow down the pace of a show or viewers are forced to wait a week or more for the latest episode. “Binge viewing” is allowing viewers to consume their favorite shows in just a couple marathon sittings using a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu.
According to this Wall Street Journal article, when Netflix first launched in 2007, television series accounted for less than 20% of total watching activity. Now, Netflix has estimated that TV shows make up for 60% of what users watch. According to Netflix, the most frequently “binged” shows include: “Breaking Bad,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Arrested Development” and “Mad Men.”
For network executives of these “binged” shows, such a phenomenon is truly bittersweet. On one hand, they must be thrilled viewers are enjoying their shows enough to plow through entire seasons in a matter of days. But on the flipside, in a business driven by advertisements, could all this commercial-free viewing hurt the industry in the long run? Will we as viewers be subject to more product placement as a result of networks compensating for such viewing patterns?
Be honest – have you ever gone on a TV binge?
Jamie Jacobs, Account Executive (with help from intern Tom Engle)