Binge watching TV- to binge or not to binge?

Ever watched two seasons of a show in one sitting? This increasing phenomenon is changing the game for advertisers and show creators but also affecting us-let’s find out how!

Binge viewing is transforming the way we watch television-that’s the fact, but it also has major effects on the industry. For eight pounds a month , you can enjoy episode after episode on Netflix, where such sessions in the past would mean buying costly DVDs (Breaking bad DVD set would cost you £45) or relying on special broadcast marathons.

Why binge?

Details kept fresh-Breaking bad creator Vince Gilligan says “Fans who devour multiple seasons in short order are more rewarded because their memories of all the story threads are fresher.” This way, it makes it easier on the producers as well, as they are now expecting the viewers to watch it all in one go, so writers value the importance of cliff-hangers.

You identify with characters faster- From psychological point, you subconsciously identify with characters faster with uninterrupted viewing of the seasons. Kinda like when you are reading a book and you can’t put it down. Psychiatrist Norman Dodge says this leads to ‘a deeper virtual-reality experience of the narrative. It can seem more real, from a neurological point of view. ‘

binge watching

Unstoppable narrative- Over the summer, you become your own TV programmer, don’t you? Your regular shows are off, and you are desperate for any replacement, where you discover new awesome shows. Commercial free content makes this idea sound even hotter, as it feels like escaping the hard sell. Unsurprisingly, Netflix survey from last year shows watching 2-3 episode of a single TV series in one sitting to be and emerging trend, where ‘ 73% viewed binge watching as positive’ . Although might not be biased, it’s not difficult to see why Netflix shared its data, as it supports their offers. Their Ted Sarandos claims ‘Original series are created for multi-episodic viewing, lining up the content with new norms of viewer control for the first time’.

And how can it backlash?

A day break- If you wish for an episode to properly sink in, according to editor and writer Jim Pagels, you should hit the brakes for at least 24 hours before passing on to another episode. By doing it that way, you reflect upon what someone else spent hours doing and not take it for granted. Also, today with social media, you tend to post comments on the show, which results into involving yourself with spoilers and discussions- therefore missing out the finest points of the show, unless you give yourself a break.

Aren’t the characters part of your life? –Marathon watching can destroy the main purpose people read or watch TV-bonding with the particular character. Jim Pagels argues how the characters from the screens should be part of your life, not just hang out with them and then say goodbye after 2 days.

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Let the suspense breathe-Take your time to ponder on the show, while it’s messing with your brain every week. You can’t experience this pleasure of changing your mind on what will happen, because it just disappears when you immediately press ‘play’ and find out within seconds. Also it gives you no time to process the episode via recaps or discussions, where with high suspense shows like Game of Thrones is really hard to have a whole understanding this way.

 

Cliffhangers and suspense will hold place if the show is any good. They will be no less gripping if you experience them in one watch. The emotions will be there, whether or not you choose the right timing or go off and watch it one weekend next year. I am guilty of both binge watching and following regularly, or mixing those up and it worked out fine both ways! Let us know which shows you binge on , but also if we missed certain pros and cons on binge watching? Post in comments or respond to our Twitter or Facebook pages!

writes @ManicMaja

Photo credit: 

Picture 1: Sad girl’s guide

Picture 2: Geekroom

Picture 3: Digg, six months old picture – some shows might have more episodes

Picture 4: Elite daily

Picture 5: Buzzfed

Picture 6: Slate  

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