New Survey Shows People Prefer Binge-Watching Over Weekly Episodes

Photo from Erik McLean via Unsplash

New Survey Shows People Prefer Binge-Watching Over Weekly Episodes

By Movieguide® Contributor

As streaming has increased over the years, people’s TV viewing habits have changed.

“Americans spend around three hours per day in front of the TV. And with 2.7 million individual video titles available on traditional and streaming platforms,” Betway Insider reported.

But one main question has arisen over time: do people prefer to binge their favorite show or do they prefer weekly episodes?

Betway found that “just over half (54.6%) of all respondents voted that they prefer to binge-watch TV shows rather than watch episodes weekly as they’re released, despite only 6.88% of respondents saying they watch 5+ episodes in one sitting.”

Additionally, “Women are more likely to binge-watch than men, with 57.6% of women voting they do this, as opposed to 52% of men. Almost two-thirds (60%) of 25-34-year-olds said they prefer to binge-watch episodes, crowning this age group the biggest binge-watchers in the US. On the other end of the scale, most respondents aged 55+ said they prefer to watch episodes weekly as they are released (58.45%).”

While binge-watching is commonplace, does the habit have any negative impacts on people’s lives?

“We find that the notion of a show being so interesting that it just sucks people in and they can’t pull away is not the whole story,” said Uma Karmarkar, an assistant professor of marketing and innovation at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management and School of Global Policy and Strategy.

“Binge-watching can have a negative connotation, like binge eating or binge drinking,” she added. “It is generally seen as impulsive, maybe problematic, but certainly very indulgent. However, media consumption is more complex. Binge-watching is not always about a failure of self-control; it can also be a thoughtful preference and planned behavior.”

While most Americans prefer binging their shows, episodic releases still have a place.

Another study conducted by Parrot Analytics spoke to 500 participants each in America, Canada, Britain and Australia, asking the following question: “For TV shows that release new episodes weekly, which viewing method do you prefer?”

The study found that “in all four countries surveyed, the majority preferred to watch episodes immediately and stay up-to-date with the TV show. This demonstrates that the episodic release schedule and the excitement of ‘event’ television is still what most viewers want, although there are almost as many that like the convenience of binge-watching.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Americans’ streaming habits:

Nielsen released its latest streaming data, which revealed that “U.S. audiences streamed 21 million years’ worth of video” in 2023.

It’s up from “an incredible 21% increase from the 17 million years worth they streamed in 2022,” Nielsen reported.

“Compared with 2022, however, the writer and actor strikes in Hollywood meant that audiences had significantly less new content to binge throughout much of 2023. That, combined with a focus on content monetization across the streaming landscape, helped inspire new content distribution strategies to keep audiences engaged and loyal amid the range of new service offerings,” the report continued. “According to Gracenote, audiences had 90 different streaming services to choose from at the end of last year, up from 51 at the start of 2020.”

The platforms relied on their existing content (around 1 million titles) in the wake of the strikes. Some shows previously exclusive to one platform have also spread across other platforms.

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