The Binge Theory: How We Like to Watch our Favorite TV Shows

By FOXBusiness

Online media streaming sites like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Hulu and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) are tailor made for binge watching your favorite shows, as users watch entire television series in just a few sittings.

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Amazon Prime reported Wednesday its subscribers will watch entire show seasons within two weeks. Specifically, the company said 30% of customers who streamed FX’s “Justified” and CBS’s “The Good Wife” will finish these seasons, with between 10 and 20 episodes, in that time frame.

The companies are catching on to this consumption trend and catering their offerings to these so-called binge viewers. In its first-quarter letter to shareholders, Netflix said it plans to continue to focus on creating original content, like its recent hits “House of Cards” and “Hemlock Grove.” The company released all 12 episodes at once of these original series, and will be doing the same this month with the FOX comedy “Arrested Development.”

“As we continue to focus on exclusive and curated content, our willingness to pay for non-exclusive, bulk content deals declines. At the end of May we’ll be allowing our broad Viacom Networks deal for Nickelodeon, BET, and MTV content to expire. We are in discussions with them about licensing particular shows but have yet to conclude a deal. We continue to do lots of other business with Viacom around the world, such as our exclusive Pay1 deal for Paramount titles in Canada,” Netflix said in the letter to shareholders.

Schedules are so hectic and viewers feel the pressure to keep up with the latest and greatest, says Cliff Courtney, CMO of Zimmerman Advertising, so being able  to watch an entire season in one or a few sittings is appealing.

“Given our schedules run amuck, we have a ‘now-or-never’ mentality. Thanks to technology, ‘now’ is at our fingertips.”

He adds that overloading on a TV show provides consumers a break from reality.  “As a nation we are getting smarter, and binge-watching speaks to our need to escape. There are still bad reality TV shows, but high-quality TV has been amped up in equal measure.”

There are still the exceptions to the rule, however, Courtney says. Cable networks like HBO and Showtime have hit dramas that viewers are willing to wait for to get their fix.

“Look at shows like ‘Entourage’ or ‘The Newsroom,’” he says. “They give you 10 episodes then tell you to wait a year for new ones. It just shows that if the quality of the show is good enough, the consumer has to play ball—they have no choice.”

Hulu is partially owned by News Corp., the parent company of the FOX Business Network

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