Binge TV Viewing Growing With On-Demand TV Services

On-demand TV services are seeing higher "binging" activity. "Binge" viewing -- which Nielsen describes as watching more than three episodes a day -- is big among subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services: 88% of Netflix users and 70% of Hulu Plus users have streamed three or more episodes of the same TV show in one day.

Nielsen says 38% of U.S. viewers use or subscribe to Netflix in 2013 -- up from 31% in 2012; 18% for Hulu Plus, up from 12%; 13% for Amazon Prime Video, nearly doubling from its 7% number a year ago; and 12% for the basic Hulu service, an increase from 9% a year ago.

The desktop/laptop computer is primarily the device of choice for these SVOD services -- at 44% for Netflix users and 43% for Hulu Plus. This is followed by mobile devices, where 23% of Netflix users go, and 17% for Hulu Plus.

Internet-enabled TVs have reached 17% for Netflix users and 14% for Hulu Plus. Connecting a computer to a TV activity is at 16% for Netflix and 15% for Hulu Plus.

Specifically, Nielsen reports that 45% of Netflix streaming subscribers watch original programming, such as “House of Cards” or “Lilyhammer.”

"Watching TV" photo from Shutterstock.

2 comments about "Binge TV Viewing Growing With On-Demand TV Services".
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  1. Taylor Wray from Kantar Retail, September 18, 2013 at 4:20 p.m.

    Unfortunately for advertisers, what makes "binge viewing" possible/enjoyable is the absence of constant commercial interruption. On Netflix, a 22-minute episode actually takes only 22 minutes to watch, so a viewer can watch four such episodes in the same time (90 minutes) it would take her to watch three shows during normal broadcasting.

    Interestingly, this high-efficiency sort of TV viewing runs counter to the pervasive narrative about viewers' decreasing attention spans. A Netflix viewer has to remain highly attentive for the whole episode since there's no chance to zone out during commercials.

    Also, I think Nielsen's definition of "binge" needs to be refined. To me, a binge is watching several episodes back-to-back, not 3 episodes over the course of a 24-hour period.

  2. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, September 19, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.

    Unfortunately for researchers, Nielsen's study is based on self-reported behavior, not metered viewing. What people say they do and what they actually do can be vastly different. Especially for watching TV.

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