In order to read this and have a true cathartic and life-changing experience, you must first be honest by answering these three questions:
Did you watch all seasons of Breaking Bad in less than two weeks?
Did you ever tell your significant other that you were working or working out when really you ate a bag of chips and watched The Expendables or The Devil Wears Prada (and you hid the empty bag at the bottom of the garbage)?
Did you ever watch ahead of your partner in the series Nashville or Veronica Mars but then pretended it was all new when you watched it together?
It has only been seven years since Netflix began to alter society. Now they have over 50 million subscribers in over 40 countries. Netflix and other streaming services have broken traditional business models, democratized content, and empowered consumers. It has also changed our watching habits.
93 minutes: average time watched by a Netflix subscriber per day
1 billion: number of hours per month all subscribers watch Netflix
61%: percentage of subscribers who admit to binge watching
80%: television shows account for largest percentage of all watching
88%: percentage of subscribers who watch three or more episodes of a TV show in a single day
If you answered yes to any or all of the questions at the start of this article, you are not alone. Netflix’s influence and impact is amazing and has been well covered. Sociologists have explored the sense of entitlement that results when we get what we want when we want it. The business press has trumpeted the bundle business model that underlines Netflix’s success.
Addiction specialists have explored binge watching relating it to drinking and taking drugs, “It’s like you’re punch drunk, and saying ‘come on feed me another one,” says Greg Dillon, professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. Netflix has made binging easy now. Television shows play automatically one after another. I know of several people who have watched all of Orange is the New Black in one day.
This leads to the two impacts no one has yet talked about. First up is normalization. These new (seemingly excessive) watching habits were not bragged about just a short time ago. Personally, I never came clean to anyone that I watched all seasons of Community, The Unit and Family Guy while traveling for business. Or that I have watched the movies The Rock, Predators, and Olympus Has Fallen way more than once. Read more