Americans have embraced binge-watching — at least for certain TV shows.
About 91% of viewers said they’ve engaged in binge-viewing, according to a survey conducted this spring by TiVo, which defined the behavior as watching three episodes of the same program in a row. And 40% said they’d binged on a show within the past week of the survey.
The behavior is most prevalent for dramas. The most-binged show was AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” which 35% of respondents said they’d consumed in large quantities, followed by 29% who said Netflix’s “House of Cards” and 25% for HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
Other binge-worthy fare was “Walking Dead” (24%), “Downton Abbey” (23%), any version of “Star Trek” (20%), “Homeland” (19%), “Mad Men” (18%), “Doctor Who” (18%) and “NCIS” (14%).
A big caveat about the survey: Respondents were recruited from an opt-in panel of approximately 30,000 TiVo subscribers, with about 15,196 members participating in the binge-watching survey in April. People with DVRs would be expected to more frequently binge, by stockpiling episodes for later viewing, so the results are likely not reflective of the general U.S. population.
A separate study last fall, commissioned by Netflix, found binge-watching a common behavior, with 61% of those who watch TV shows online saying they engage in binge-watching 2-3 episodes at least every few weeks.
That’s a pretty loose definition of binge-viewing, to be sure. Full-season gorging is less common: According to Netflix, of those who watched a full season within 30 days, 25% completed watching a 13-episode series in two days. Meanwhile, 73% of TV streamers said they have “positive feelings” about the habit.
Still, even among TiVo users, the survey found that there’s growing acceptance of binge-viewing. When asked about their perception of the term “bingeing,” only one-third of respondents agreed that the term had negative connotations, compared with a TiVo survey in April 2013 on which 53% deemed it socially unacceptable.
The survey also asked about “super-bingeing” — watching an entire series over several days. Three-quarters of survey respondents said they’ve done this, and about 29% of those surveyed said they deliberately put off watching an entire season of a show until they could watch the whole season at once.