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Is "Binge Culture" Ruining The Television Industry?

Within the past few years, the way we watch television has completely transformed. Between releasing 15 episodes at once to specialized mini-series with only 8 episodes we are traveling in a new direction. Is this a positive force or negative? How so and who is affected? More creatives are finally being able to produce the shows they may have had difficulty with in the past. But is this all just recycled visual information coming out in a larger quantity? By simply hitting "next episode" are we focusing on the content or having a competition to binge the series in under a weekend?

Thoughts?

  • I don't believe that the actual quantity of television has necessarily been changed by the rise of binge-watching (things like that are typically dictated by contracts and production costs). However, I do believe that it has created a dramatic increase in the production and popularity of serialized narratives (as opposed to self-contained narratives) which may make for an interesting topic from a creative point of view. – Ian Miculan 4 years ago
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  • I'm not sure if it's ruining the television industry or the viewer's experience. It can be argued that the anticipation felt at the end of a crazy episode isn't as intense because the viewer knows that they can find the resolution in the next episode immediately. There's one show that I watch week to week, and I find myself needing to talk to friends about it and feeling more intrigued by the show's drama. Integrating the effect on the viewer might be an interesting twist to the article. I think this would make the article more intriguing to a reader because they can relate to it through their own experience. – lolsen 4 years ago
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  • I think that binge culture can be damaging to the television industry. Because people can speed through series much more quickly, companies like Netflix are putting out dozens of new series everyday, instead of focusing on the ones that have held long-lasting success. – Sarah Bish 4 years ago
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Does Binge Watching change how we view television?

Starting with the new Netflix show Sense8, which the creators have discussed as a ‘twelve hour movie,’ discuss how Netflix’s schedule of releasing all new episodes at once has changed the way we view pacing/narrative challenges in TV shows.

  • I'd also like to point out that they've done studies that show that breaks commercial or otherwise help us to digest what we are watching. Binge watching actually makes it so that we remember less of what we see. So perhaps we end up having to watch our favorites over and over again just for it to stick? – Tatijana 6 years ago
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  • Yes, and producers who air their shows on platforms like Netflix or Hulu (or Amazon) need to take that into account. Cliffhangers, for example, definitely don't have the same effect. – jmato 6 years ago
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  • Netflix has locked on to the needs of consumer culture. "We want more and we want it now." I'm sure there are statistics out there that show how longer shows that air on tv only once a week lose viewers consistently because either people can't be bothered to wait or they finally miss one episode and go "well, whatever, I'm out of date now and I don't really care to take the effort to catch up." Bingeing is part of the instant gratification our society has become accustomed to. – Slaidey 6 years ago
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  • I think we also miss out on the interactional aspect that week-to-week shows tend to have too. In an interview, Constance Zimmer (who has appeared on the Netflix show House of Cards) said that, while the ability to binge definitely has its advantages for fans, a disadvantage is that we miss the "water cooler conversations" that happen when shows are released over time. It's harder to converse with others about what we are viewing because we're afraid of spoiling something for them. There's so much pressure to watch it all as quickly as possible, there's no time to soak it all in or discuss what we're watching. Back before the binge culture, people would often chat about their reactions on what they had both watched the night before, talk about their predications on what would happen next, etc. – elphabaanne 6 years ago
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  • I have to second what elphabaanne stated. I live tweet shows like "Arrow", "Agents of Shield", and " The Walking Dead". However, when Jessica Jones was released Friday I couldn't live tweet the show; everyone was on different episodes, most having finished the entirety of JJ already. While I like the immediacy of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu to a lesser extent I feel they create distance between audience members. Being able to discuss what I love about a show is important to me, it is through discussion I am able to realize new aspects about something which has caught my attention. I hope this has provided some assistance to you. Note: I would focus on Jessica Jones, Orange is the New Black,- Sense8 has been out for a while now. – SincerelySeb 6 years ago
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  • With most spoilers and discussions for shows happening on places like Tumblr and Reddit, being able to binge watch a series that everyone else has already watched does have the positive effect of facilitating people to catch up on social conversations. However, I would agree that the loss of the suspense factor and the time for the brain to imagine alternate conclusions robs the fans of an aspect of the storytelling experience. – EulalieS 6 years ago
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  • No delayed gratification, that's for sure. – Jaye Freeland 6 years ago
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  • Definitely support the writing of such a topic. Perhaps discuss whether the path of Netflix's acceptance into modern consumption activity will ever mean that this release of televisual content will ever become the norm. – Matthew Sims 6 years ago
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  • There might also be the question about how the way we are encouraged to binge-watch shows, the way we do binge-watch shows, changes the way shows are written, directed and produced. And, maybe, as this note comes about 4 years late, the evolution of those tendencies (in general and/or more particularly since this topic was submitted, 4 years ago). [I hope my (verylate) comment is still relevant and understandable, as I am neither a native English speaker nor fluent in English – yet!] – Gavroche 2 years ago
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