TV & Entertainment

Binge-Watching Study Reveals How Many Episodes We Watch

If you’re into binge-watching, you can bank on perching yourself on the sofa for quite a while for your favorite show, according to a new study.

Remember the time before binge-watching even existed? I’m talking about the old days of television watching, back when there were just three big stations, and even after cable brought us 100 channels? Back then, when it was time to watch our favorite show, we watched that week’s single episode and then somehow managed to get on with our lives until next week’s episode.

VCRs and later DVRs made it easy to “save up” a few episodes for one long viewing session for those of us who couldn’t manage to be in front of the screen at our favorite program’s appointed hour.

But now, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have upped the binge-watching ante, according to a new study.

Binge-watching means watching at least three episodes of a program in one sitting.

Variety reports on the latest edition of Deloitte’s annual “Digital Democracy Survey,” which found that approximately 73% of U.S. consumers claim they’ve binge-watched video content, and that number’s up from 68% two years ago.

I engage in binge-watching from time to time, but for me, it’s more about background noise while I do other things. I could just as easily be listening to music, of course, but there are certain shows I like to have on. Those shows include classics that never get old because of their quality.

I’m talking about programs like The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, M*A*S*H, Everybody Loves Raymond and The Twilight Zone.

I can easily engage in binge-watching with any of those because I know the episodes and don’t have to have my eyes glued to the screen every second in fear that I’ll miss something. It’s the television equivalent of comfort food.

The average number of shows binge-watchers will sit through these days is six. That means an average of about five hours of their eyes being “glued” to the screen for fear of missing come critical detail.

That’s dedication, isn’t it? As much as I love TV myself, that’s a lot of commitment of time and attention.

At least, that’s what I’d think.

But there’s this:

The survey found that 99% of millennials and Gen Z are engaged in other activities while watching TV, with an average of four additional activities (such as texting, web browsing, using social networks, reading email or online shopping).

Gen Z, incidentally, is people between 14 and 19 years old. Millennials are those between 20 and 33. Man, I feel old all of a sudden.

So they’re watching five hours worth of a TV show at a time, but not exactly paying that much attention.

It’s a scary thought. And it makes me wonder why they’re spending that much time on something if they’re not that invested.

Have we completely lost the ability to “single-task” these days?

How often are you binge-watching TV shows these days and how many episodes in a row would you typically watch?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.