Netflix binge watching has changed how we watch TV

Entertainment / TV
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In the four years since Netflix started releasing full seasons at once, the way some of us view shows has changed.

It’s hard to believe that it was four years ago that Netflix dropped the entire first season of House of Cards all at once on the streaming service. Little did we know that a new way of watching new seasons of our favourite shows was upon us — binge watching. Binge watching may not have been a new thing, after all previous seasons of shows regularly show up on DVD or Blu-ray, but Netflix was the first to bring us entire new season of shows all at once. Of course, over the years, Netflix has amassed countless data on the watching habits of their subscribers.

“For years our lives had to fit around television, now it’s the other way around,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content. “We’ve given consumers control and it’s interesting to see the behaviors that emerge when viewers aren’t tied to a schedule. And even more so to see that these routines are replicated by millions the world over.”

When Netflix first announced they were going to start releasing seasons of their Original Series all at once, there was some debate over whether it was the smart thing to do. Given Holland’s quote above though, it’s definitely been nice to have the option of watching shows when you want, where you want, and not have to wait for a week — or longer — between episodes. As you can see from the infographic above, Netflix viewers prefer different types of content at different times of the day.

Comedy for breakfast – viewers feel at home starting their day with Fuller House. The Tanners’ may have originally premiered at 8PM, but today, the Fullers’ are devoured before 8AM. While you might not expect popular parodies to stir laughs bright and early, around 6AM members are 34% more likely to watch comedy compared to the rest of the day, with the new comedy wake-up block including the likes of Michael Scott (The Office), Kimmy Schmidt (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Chandler Bing (Friends), to name a few.

High noon, high drama – members pay a visit to the ladies of Litchfield at lunch. When viewing schedules are set by people and not programmers, lunchtime becomes no binging exception. Across the world, drama accounts for nearly half (47%) of viewing between noon and 2PM (an increase of 5% compared to the rest of the day). Midday streaming is especially prevalent in Brazil where members are 25% more likely to watch at this time compared to the rest of the world – who says shows like Shameless, Grey’s Anatomy and Orange is the New Black are strictly evening fare?

Opposite genres attract when we binge in bed – members trade the Demogorgon for Dave Chappelle. It’s no surprise thrillers like The Walking Dead, Stranger Things and Breaking Bad are being enjoyed in theevening – globally the genre sees a 27% increase come 9PM. But viewers are kicking Rick Grimes, the Upside Down and Walter White out of bed by 11PM and restoring balance with partners like Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation), Dev Shah (Master of None) and Bojack Horseman before they hit the hay – apparently members around the world choose to start and end their day with a laugh.

Late nights are for learning – watchers prefer Chef’s Table as a midnight snack. Globally, 15% of streaming happens between midnight and 6AM and even rises as high as 21% in Japan and South Korea. And what these night owl members are watching is not what you think – documentaries see a 24% increase in viewing during this time, including titles like Abstract, Making a Murderer and Planet Earth. The pursuit for quality entertainment (and knowledge) doesn’t dim when the lights go out.

Ultimately, Netflix-time is anytime. When viewers fit TV watching around their daily lives, rather than the other way around, we see peak streaming as early as 5PM in India to as late as 10PM in Argentina and Singapore.

Has Netflix changed the way you watch your favourite TV shows? Do you align with some of Netflix’s findings? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

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