It’s that time of year again when the water-cooler discussions turn to the likes of the latest Hallmark Christmas movies or other assorted opportunities to binge-watch your favorite television shows, old and new.
Binge-watching is a relatively new phenomenon that is quickly becoming a standard way for viewers to consume content. According to a Netflix survey, 61% of the participants in the survey said they regularly binge-watch. And, according to other research for video-on-demand, over 64% of the customer base binge-watched at least once during the year.
Binge watching became more mainstream with the rise of video on demand and streaming television, especially starting in 2013 when Netflix began releasing episodes of its serial programming simultaneously. But I recall as early as Christmas 1997, TNT cable television network introduced the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. So, the opportunity to binge-watch has been around a lot longer than streaming services would have us believe.
What about the cultural value of binge-watching? Proponents claim it is a way to immerse themselves more in the characters and storylines of a series, while critics claim that it lessens the opportunity for discussion among peers in anticipation of future episodes. Research at the University of Texas at Austin even correlated binge-watching with depression, loneliness, self-regulation deficiency, and obesity.
Whether it’s good or bad, binge-watching is here to stay. UP TV each year since 2016 has scheduled a Gilmore the Merrier event for Thanksgiving weekend. The network says that viewership has grown each year since its inception, claiming that there is a pattern of families watching television together, and an event like this gives the family the opportunity to share something special. Along with the “live” viewing experience was a Twitter campaign to keep the conversation going, plus trivia questions and a “watch and win” sweepstakes associated with the marathon. The series even has a podcast for men who follow it, called The Gilmore Guys!
The way television is watched is changing and binge-watching is part of that change. Is your program binge-worthy? Good content stands the test of time and can even gather a big fan base, even if the series aired several years ago. The kind of television you produce now could be a binge-watch opportunity decades from now. Don’t sell your content short; make something memorable, and it will last.
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