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A season in a day: new TiVo research analyses binge-viewing

TiVo Research and Analytics last week released results from the TiVo Spring 2014 Binge-Viewing Survey. With 91 percent of the 15,196 survey respondents reporting binge-viewing as common viewing behaviour, binging is firmly established as the preferred method of consuming entertainment content. In fact, 40 percent of respondents had binged within a week and 69 percent had binged within a month of the survey.

Respondents cite the desire to “catch up” on TV and “only having learned about the show after many episodes had already aired” as their top drivers for binging. Twenty-nine percent of respondents deliberately put off watching an entire season of a show until they could watch the whole season at once, a trend TiVo Research expects will only grow.

“When television seasons began in the fall and ended in May and the menu of great TV programs was shorter, viewers could use summer reruns to catch up on missed episodes of their favorite shows,” says TiVo Chief Research Officer Jonathan Steuer. “Today, though, the menu of available television fare has expanded to include thousands of channels, original programming from broadcast, cable and over-the-top sources and year-round premieres. It is now literally impossible for viewers to see all the shows they enjoy when they are first broadcast, and there’s no ‘summer break’ when viewers can catch up. But thanks to the control over cable, broadcast and OTT content afforded by TiVo, and to the proliferation of streaming services like Netflix, binge-viewing has rapidly become common practice.”

Beyond binge-viewing three or more episodes of a series in a day, TiVo Research’s survey also investigated another binging habit: Watching an entire season (or more) of a specific program over multiple days. Three-quarters of survey respondents reported participating in this type of “super-binge” activity, with 14 percent having done so in the prior week and 23 percent having done so between a week and a month prior to taking the survey.

Binge-Fodder of Choice When asked to choose which of the popular programs they had ever binged-viewed, 35 percent of respondents selected “Breaking Bad,” which TiVo Research also reported as the most-binged show in January, and 29 percent mentioned House of Cards.

Binging Becomes Socially Acceptable When asked about their perception of the term “binging,” only one-third of respondents felt it the term had negative connotations, compared to April 2013, when over half (53 percent) of those surveyed considered it a negative term. As the negative connotations around binging disappear and program accessibility continues to expand, TiVo Research will continue to track this phenomenon, which profoundly affects the way viewers consume television.

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