Tuesday, April 29, 2014

SURVEY: America is Addicted to Binge-Viewing; Side-Effects Include Missing Showers, Skipping Meals, Oversleeping and Having Nothing Left to Watch

In a new national survey conducted by strategic research, marketing and brand consultancy Miner & Co. Studio, seven out of 10 U.S. TV viewers consider themselves binge-viewers – an activity that the same percentage of respondents says is “addictive” (download an infographic here). The study – Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Binge-Viewing Is our New Favorite Addiction* – identifies binge-viewing as watching three or more episodes of one series in a single sitting, with Frequent Binge-Viewers being those who binge a few times per week or more and Infrequent Binge-Viewers those who binge once a month or less. It showed that 17 percent of binge-viewers do so on a daily basis, 63 percent weekly and 90 percent on a monthly basis, with Frequent Binge-Viewers skewing younger (61 percent are Millennials) and more ethnically diverse (34 percent being non-white) than Infrequent Binge-Viewers (19 percent).

As with many addictions, binge-viewers found themselves dealing with some unpleasant side effects. These ranged from:

* Questionable Hygiene – Frequent Binge-Viewers are two-times more likely than Infrequent Binge-Viewers to have skipped showering or bathing because they were binge-viewing;

* Sluggishness – 27% of all viewers said binge-viewing made them feel sluggish or lazy;

* Neglectfulness – Binge-viewing makes them (18 percent of all binge-viewers) “pay less attention to other aspects of their lives,” with Frequent Binge-Viewers nearly three-times more likely to order take-out instead of cooking for their family than Infrequent Binge-Viewers – or to skip a meal entirely – and more than twice as likely to oversleep the next morning;

* Idleness – 30 percent dislike binge-viewing as it makes them less active;

* Insatiable Appetite – 43 percent of Frequent Binge-Viewers watch more TV because of binge-viewing, yet 25 percent of all viewers surveyed said they dislike binge-viewing because they “don’t have anything left to watch once they finish.”

But the viewing “high” seems to be worth it as 71 percent said binge-viewing is “totally normal” with 59 percent considering the habit to be a harmless addiction. In fact, according to the survey, Frequent Binge-Viewers are more likely to associate positive qualities to binge-viewing than infrequent viewers, seeing binge-viewing as something that makes them the “the life of the party” (260 percent more likely), “in the know” (77 percent) and “culture vultures” (58 percent).

“Binge-viewing has redefined the impact of the word ‘next’ for the industry. It’s become a positive concept as viewers decide that, yes, they will watch the ‘next’ episode. Next now means ‘yes I’d like some more’,” said Robert Miner, President of Miner & Co. Studio.

He added, “Additionally, our research shows that the way we consume entertainment continues to evolve – a pattern that we see repeated as viewers embrace and adapt to new platforms and choices. A great deal of attention has been paid, with good reason, to the role and impact of binge-viewing on dramas such as Breaking Bad, House of Cards and Walking Dead, however we found that comedy is a favored binge-viewing genre that’s showing notable strength as well. At our core, we are wired to crave good stories that entertain us, and our TV-watching behavior – and addiction to binge-viewing – isn’t boxed in by genre.”

Defining Binge-Viewers

While conducting the survey Miner & Co. Studio also found that more than half of all self-identified binge-viewers in the study were Millennials (55 percent) and nine out of 10 of all binge-viewers watch a minimum of 10 hours of television weekly. The survey also identified three main groups of binge-viewers: Streamers (35 percent) as those who mostly utilize streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Instant Video to binge-view; Marathoners (18 percent) who mostly binge on TV marathons; and DVRers (16 percent) who binge-view mostly via a DVR.

How much is too much during a single viewing session? The tolerance of binge-viewers according to the Miner & Co Studio survey spanned a range from “lightweights” (3-4 episodes / 13 percent) to those having “a slight buzz” (5-6 episodes / 31 percent), viewers well on their way to “getting tipsy” (10+ episodes / 18 percent) and – on the far end of the spectrum, those “on a bender” who feel no number of episodes “is too much” (21 percent).

Binge-Viewers Will Put Money Where Their Mouths Are

The majority of binge-viewers (61 percent overall and 69 percent of Streamers) agreed with the statement: “The ability to binge-watch has made TV more enjoyable.” In fact, two out of every five individuals in the survey are willing to pay more if they could instantly access full seasons of their favorite series instead of having to wait for new episodes to air.

Perhaps contrary to popular belief, Frequent Binge-Viewers are even more prone to let commercials play (two-times) and more likely to upgrade their cable subscriptions (four-times) than infrequent viewers.

Gender & Relationships

Binge-viewing continues to be “me time” for those not in a relationship. However, binge-viewers who are married or living with a significant other are more likely to binge-watch together than alone. Some 64 percent in a relationship are generally binge-watching with their significant other while 75 percent of singles watch solo.

Miner & Co. Studio also unearthed some interesting difference between the sexes. When it comes to binge-viewing, while women watch more procedurals (39 percent vs. 30 percent), men watch more comedies (52 percent vs. 44 percent) and animated adult shows (29 percent vs. 17 percent). Men binge-watch using a gaming console (21 percent vs. 13 percent). And women, due to binge-viewing, are more likely to stay indoors all day (43 percent vs. 36 percent) while wearing pajamas (36 percent vs. 23 percent).

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