According to Newsweek, on average, Americans watch TV more than 5 hours a day.
Using that as a basis, by the time you’re 80 you will have spent 21% of your adult life, or 4,175 days (nearly 13 years) watching TV.
But….in the last 40 years, the way we watch TV has changed drastically.
In the 1970s and 80s, when you had a favorite TV show you wanted to watch, you had to gather with the family around the TV the night the show was on and watch, and wait until the commercials to run to the bathroom.
When the episode had a really good cliffhanger ending, you had to wait until the next week to see what happened.
These days, you don’t have to do that.
….you can watch your favorite shows when you want, on your TV, or on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
So, while the way we watch TV has changed drastically…what has also changed is HOW writers are writing the shows.
And it’s all geared towards making you ‘BINGE WATCH.’
WHAT IS BINGE WATCHING?
‘Binge watching’ is simple. It’s defined simply as sitting down and watching several episodes of a particular TV show in a row.
Time Magazine recently described ‘binge watching’ as this:
"You know the feeling. You’re caught up in a TV show—it could be an old favorite, or one that’s totally new to you—and suddenly you want more. And because you’re watching over the Internet or On Demand, you have entire seasons at your fingertips.
Just one episode”, you tell yourself. Before you know it, fifteen hours have passed, you haven’t showered, and your lap is littered with crumbs."
There are two types of “binge” watching:
Experts say we binge watch because it literally feels good. Watching compelling, shows written to be fast- paced and keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for the result releases endorphins.
According to Andrew Romano of Newsweek, today's most popular shows, think:
....are all desgined by people who ask themselves the singular question:
‘How do I get you to watch the next episode’?
To answer that question, they write them specifically to “hook” you by ‘serializing’ them on purpose.
A serialized show is a show where the episodes run in order, each episode is connected to the last, they are not independent of one another.
So, if you miss an episode you usually miss something (sometimes something big) and end up lost the next time you watch.
These shows are designed purposely to be more exciting and more addicting than anything networks have ever produced in the past.
In short, they are designed to be ‘binge-able'.
BRINGING BINGING TO A NEW LEVEL
Netflix is breaking even newer ground in this with "House of Cards", they committed $100 million for two seasons of the show. That's 26 , hour-long episodes.... before even one was written.
In February, they released the entire first season, 13-episodes all at once, an unprecidented move.
According to Netflix data, thousands of subscribers downloaded and watched all 13 episodes within 15 hours of the release.
And Netflix is poised to do it all again this Memorial Day weekend, with Arrested Development, which will release the entire 4th season, 15 episodes on Sunday.