The Popularity of Binge-Watching in a Short Attention Span Era

While we can barely last 30 seconds before clicking a different video on YouTube, film/television universes are expanding. With DC (Arrow/Flash/Legends of Tomorrow) and Marvel (All Films/Agents of Shield/DareDevil/etc!) crossovers, the hope is that we not only remain invested enough to continue with each new film/show, but we remember all of Thanos’ little teases though a year or two apart! Along side this, ‘House of Cards’ style filming where it is meant to be devoured as a whole rather than once a week is gaining momentum as well (Sense 8). With the convenient, automatic play of each ‘next episode’ and the marathon encouraged set up of Netflix, we are clearly in love with binge-watching. What does this say about our short attention span? Are the two even related?

  • I definitely think binge watching and short attention spans can go hand in hand but strangely I've not had that correlate in my life. I love long complicated movies and binge watch often while on the other hand my friend who can't sit through something more than ten minutes without an explosion does not absorb herself in convenient Netlfix shows. Binge watching takes dedication and the patience to sit down, people with short attention spans can't always handle that commitment. That being said, the genre of thing being watched would also affect it, action is more appealing than slow paced dramas! I'd love to know to what extent certain genres get binge watched over others. – Slaidey 9 years ago
  • This is a very interesting notion, and I like the idea that short attention span and binge-watching can be synonymous. For myself personally, I have had two cases of binge watching over my years as a TV addict ( Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad). In the case of Game of Thrones, I have now had the experience of devouring the first three seasons in one sitting, and then the 4th through weekly instalments. I think an interesting approach to your article would be to look at the difference. While I cannot answer the questions explicitly, it would be cool to see whether I gained more from the experience of binge watching ( one long segment) or through the serialized period. Did I remember more because I watched it all at once? Was I more aware of the subtle hints left my the creators through single lines, or one shots of a certain item that would later become crucial to the plot? All in all, very interesting topic. – AntNicoletti 9 years ago
  • Interesting! I think humans love stories and we can't get enough. Perhaps it's our nature. And we are capable of waiting - but when we don't have to, why should we? We are also in an era of instant gratification. We are addicts. – yase 9 years ago
  • Really interesting take on this topic, I've been fascinated by this myself as I have a short attention span yet continually binge watch series. My theory is that maybe binge watching exists in our short attention span culture because we can absorb ourselves in the universe of the show but all the while knowing we have the freedom to experience it in the shorter 20 and 40 minute increments. Whereas movies require commitment to sit down and watch and in addition we only get to experience the universe for that two hours. It might interesting to explore how binge watching actually satisfies our short attention span culture, because we can watch everything all at once rather than the drawn out version of watching TV shows as weekly instalments. – emihurst 9 years ago

Want to write about TV or other art forms?

Create writer account