Breaking Bad

Nearly half of Canadians now binge watch TV: Study

Reasons to binge watch: not tied to a schedule, ability to skip commercials

More viewers are seeing Bryan Cranston’s Breaking Bad transformation from the meek Walter White to the monstrous Heisenberg over the course of a few hours, not weeks.

New research from Toronto’s Solutions Research Group (SRG) has found that nearly half (45%) of Canadians binge viewed TV series in the past month, averaging 3.8 episodes in one setting.

The practice is most common among younger Canadians, with 64% of people 20-29 binge viewing monthly – compared with 49% of people 30-49 and only 28% of Canadians 50+. The study found that approximately 47% of females binge view, compared with 45% of males.

The most common reasons people binge view are being able to watch shows on their own schedule, not having to wait a week for the next episode and the ability to skip commercials.

“[Skipping ads] is important if you are a marketer and if you also see that 20-29 years olds are really developing the habit, as the data suggests,” said SRG president Kaan Yigit.

The vast majority of binge viewing is coming via Netflix, with 80% of survey respondents saying they have used the service to watch multiple episodes of a TV show in the past month.

Other popular binge viewing sources include PVR (11%), TV video-on-demand (7%), a TV provider’s online portals (6%), YouTube (4%) or a TV channel website (4%).

The top 10 binge viewed series are the Netflix original Orange is the New Black (10%), followed by Breaking Bad (6%) and The Big Bang Theory (4%). Other popular shows, each cited by 2% of respondents, include The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, Suits and House.

While 3.8 is the average number of episodes watched in one binge watching session, 26% of respondents said they watched five episodes or more, while another 14% said they watched at least four episodes.

Many respondents said they enjoyed watching TV in this fashion because it enabled them to become more immersed in the program and keep the previous episode’s events fresh in their mind.

“The sense of immersion in a TV show is greater when you can progress continuously through it,” said one survey respondent. “On days where I am not too busy to watch TV, I can commit more time to TV in one sitting. It doesn’t feel like I’m wasting time watching things I don’t want to watch.”


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