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Netflix's Binge Viewing Behavior Poses Threat to Marketers

  |  December 13, 2013   |  Comments

Netflix has studied its users and found that a large number of American gogglebox watchers binge on content regularly, posing a potential threat to marketers who want to bang more for their buck on ad spend.

Netflix has studied its users and found that a large number of American gogglebox watchers binge on content regularly, posing a potential threat to marketers who want to bang more for their buck on ad spend.

The online streaming service adds a whole series of content at a time, which makes gorging on the shows easy. This option, which requires a fair amount of free time, adds up to a lot of people watching a lot of content in a relatively short space of time.

"Binge watching is a widespread behavior among this group", it said, "with 61 percent binge watching regularly."

Around three quarters of Americans that responded to Netflix polling questions admitted that they binge on two to six episodes in one sitting. Around the same amount said that they have "positive feelings towards binge streaming TV".

"I found that binge watching has really taken off due to a perfect storm of better TV, our current economic climate and the digital explosion of the last few years," says Grant McCracken, cultural anthropologist who was on hand to comment.

"But this TV watcher is different, the couch potato has awoken. And now that services like Netflix have given consumers control over their TV viewing, they have declared a new way to watch."

But What Does This Mean for Marketers?

According to David Berkowitz, chief marketing officer at MRY, the binge factor of Netflix in particular is currently a major threat to the largest chunk of media spending. The more consumers that watch Netflix, especially for extended chunks of time, the less those consumers will be exposed to ads.

“This should motivate TV networks and production companies to offer up even more of their programming on-demand through cable providers, because at least that way, ads can be slotted into on-demand viewing,” he says.

“In addition, this should push marketers to invest even more heavily in digital marketing. As consumers binge watch, they’re also watching multiple screens. Right at those moments when marketers can’t reach consumers through TV, online and mobile marketing will have a much better opportunity to grab viewers’ attention,” Berkowitz explains.

Back to Netflix

The binge viewing frenzy is of course good news for Netflix, a company that has always released entire series of shows when it gets them. And the online streaming service said that it had suspected that users would throw themselves into the TV trough.

"Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace," adds Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

"Netflix has pioneered audience choice in programming and has helped free consumers from the limitations of linear television. Our own original series are created for multi-episodic viewing, lining up the content with new norms of viewer control for the first time."

*Additional reporting done by Liva Judic.

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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