Is Netflix Forcing You To Binge Watch Shows?

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have fostered a culture of binge watching. Instead of waiting week after week for new episodes of some of our favorite shows –streaming platforms typically drop episodes in bulk so that fans have hours of their favorite series to watch all at once. While many fans of Netflix and other streaming services enjoy the binge-watching model —Netflix might be forcing fans to watch entire seasons in one sitting.

Why do we feel the need to binge watch?

While some people still enjoy the slow burn of watching their favorite shows at a leisurely pace –other people are obsessed with binge watching. The instant gratification of watching a show in bulk feels good, but there are also other factors that contribute to our desire to binge watch. Fear of missing out (FOMO) or concern about spoilers are other reasons Netflix lovers choose to binge shows.

Considering our collective obsession with social media –it’s much easier to binge watch a show as soon as it hits Netflix then avoiding Instagram or Twitter for the next week until you can catch up. Because Netflix’s core audience is relatively young –the fear of things being spoiled on social media is even bigger. According to a YouGov poll –50% of Netflix’s viewers are under the age of 35. If you didn’t watch the Sandra Bullock-led Bird Box the day it came out, you probably knew exactly what was going to happen in the film before you got around to watching it.

Is Netflix forcing us to binge watch shows?

In 2018 alone–Netflix had an estimated 1,500 hours of new, original content, which is basically about 9 entire weeks of TV. Netflix is on pace for even more in 2019. With so much material –the company isn’t all that precious about canceling and renewing shows. In fact, it seems like they may be analyzing the ratings by how quickly viewers watch new shows and movies.

When Season 2 of Netflix’s One Day at a Time premiered in Feb 2019 –the series’ showrunner Mike Royce urged fans to binge the show as quickly as possible. He tweeted, “Some One Day at a Time watchers have expressed the very lovely sentiment that you want to spread season 3 out so you don’t finish too quickly AND I GET THAT BUT… Netflix relies on the first couple weeks of data to make their decision. So if you want season 4 of One Day at a Time, finish the season in the first couple weeks.”

It looks like Netflix isn’t actually forcing us to binge watch its shows –however, if we want to make sure that our favorite shows aren’t canceled –and we want more content like Russian Doll –then we better tuck in the first weekend the show’s premiere for a nice marathon session.

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