Americans who admit to their co-workers that - instead of spending the weekend catching some sun or doing work around the house - they vegged out in front of the TV are no longer perceived as couch potatoes. Binge-watching shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Orange Is the New Black” is now, in fact, the new normal, according to the results of a survey from TiVo Research and Analytics.
The data department of the DVR manufacturing company recently released a poll of 15,000 TV viewers in the US about their binge-watching habits, a term defined by the always-reliable Urban Dictionary as a “marathon viewing of a TV show from its DVD box set.” With the rise of the Netflix and Hulu, the definition now includes streaming services that make it unnecessary to even reach for the remote, never mind getting off the couch.
Of the 15,196 respondents, 91% said that binge-watching TV shows is a common behavior and 40% admitted binge-watching a show within a single week. Only a third of those polled said “binge-watching” is a negative term, compared to 53% who said the same in 2013.
“The notion of being caught up on TV is a very modern idea,” TiVo chief research officer Jonathan Steuer told Forbes. “The idea that TV is something you control and that you can manipulate in a post DVR and over the top vision of how television works.”
The survey defined binge-watching as viewing three or more episodes of the same show in a single day. The phenomenon, popular with the rise of dramatic cable shows like “The Sopranos” and the corresponding DVD sets, has been given a new meaning in a time where entire seasons of “Orange Is the New Black” and “House Of Cards” drop on Netflix at the same moment.
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A number of viewers said they watched to keep up with a show, to be able to participate in conversations in their social circle, because their scheduled only permitted watching at certain times, and also because watching so many episodes at once makes the somestimes complicated plotlines that much easier to follow.
“If you’re saying that about ‘New Girl’ there’s something wrong with you, but for something like ‘game of thrones’ it makes sense,” Steuer told Forbes, adding that social media has yet to become a part of the equation.
“The main thing that people are doing when they’re watching TV is that they’re watching TV,” he went on. “The whole second-screen interactivity appears to be an aspirational thing that people in the technology and media business want to be happening more than it actually appears to be happening among normal humans.”
The 10 most popular shows to binge watch, according to TiVo’s 2014 survey, are as follows:
1. Breaking Bad
2. House of Cards
3. Game of Thrones
4. The Walking Dead
5. Downton Abbey
6. Star Trek (any version)
8. Mad Men
9. Doctor Who