MarketCast Study Finds TV “Binge-Viewing” Creates a More Engaged Viewer for Future Seasons and Not a Bingeing Habit

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New Study, “Marathon TV: How Binge-Viewing is Changing the Way We Watch,” Explains How Bingeing is a Consumer-Driven Response That Expands Viewership and Creates Long Run Opportunities for Content Providers and Advertisers

MarketCast, a research-based, global entertainment consultancy, announced the results of a new study among American TV viewers that examines the growing phenomenon of TV binge-viewing. This new research provides an in-depth look at who is bingeing and what drives their behavior, and explains the implications for Big Media and emerging content providers and distribution channels alike.

“Binge-viewing is not new. As consumers, we’ve been doing it for years,” said MarketCast CEO Henry Shapiro. “But more recently, bingeing has evolved to become a consumer response to a perfect storm of fantastic programming combined with new services and technologies that offer convenience, access, and a terrific viewing experience. This study shows that for consumers, bingeing is a means to a fairly specific end – to catch up and stay current – and not an end unto itself.”

The study was conducted online among 1,022 American TV viewers ages 13-49 from February 10-12, 2013.

Bingeing Is Prevalent, But Not Preferred…

Two-thirds of this sample said that they have binge-viewed a TV show or series at some point, and many Bingers cited cable TV marathons as being their gateway into binge-viewing. That said, most Bingers – six in ten – say that they binge-view only sometimes or rarely. In fact, only 5 percent of Bingers say that binge-viewing is the only way they will watch television.

…But Bingeing is On the Rise

Just over half of Bingers say their frequency of bingeing has increased over the past year and just under half expect to binge-view in the next three months. Even among those TV viewers who have never binged before, fully half express intent to binge-view a television program in the next three months.

The Dark Side of Binge-Viewing: Viewers to Do it At Home, Alone, and By Accident

The study revealed that most TV bingeing is personal and accidental. Our homes provide the greatest opportunity for the uninterrupted viewing experience that bingeing requires. Not surprisingly, 98 percent of Bingers do so at home and only a small percentage admit to having binged while on vacation or traveling. 56 percent of Bingers say they only binge-view by themselves.

71 percent of Bingers say that their binge-sessions are mostly unplanned. They start out intending only to watch one or two episodes, but then get “sucked-in” to a much longer viewing session. This unplanned shift from casual watching to bingeing has some unintended and uncomfortable consequences for Bingers that may be reinforcing why we choose to do it by ourselves.

“There is a sort of dark side to binge-viewing that makes many of us want to do it by ourselves and away from public scrutiny,” said Senior Director and study author Chris Rethore. “As with bingeing on anything – food, sweets, alcohol – there are often feelings of guilt that result and a sense that we’ve done something wrong or bad after we have indulged. Binge-viewing TV is no different. Yes, people want control over their media consumption, but for some, binge-viewing signals a loss of control.”

Everyone Wins: Bingeing Gets Consumers Back in the Game

The study suggests that binge-viewing should be embraced by content providers. Bingeing expands audiences and supplements existing viewership for new seasons of a show with a passionate, highly-engaged, and newly-minted viewer group who, for whatever reason, missed out on previous seasons. 1 in 2 Bingers “strongly agrees” that bingeing gets them caught up on what they missed and gets them excited about watching new episodes of shows when they air. In contrast, only 17 percent of Bingers “strongly” agree that once they start binge-viewing a show, that that is the only way they will watch future seasons.

“Bingeing, by its very definition, is an intense, dedicated, and time-consuming experience and viewers get very invested in storylines and characters,” added Rethore. “Once they catch up on the episodes or seasons they missed, Bingers demonstrate consistently higher interest in watching new episodes as they air than those who never binged on a particular show at all. In the long run, they can become high-value viewers to both shows and advertisers. The study suggests that for any given show, bingeing begets linear viewing more so than more bingeing.”

About MarketCast LLC

Based in Los Angeles, with a presence in New York, Boston, and London, MarketCast is a leading provider of marketing research services for the global entertainment industry. Through a variety of consulting services backed by rigorously scientific quantitative and qualitative research methods, MarketCast works in collaboration with marketers and researchers across the spectrum of entertainment companies in the development and execution of their marketing strategies, from early concept exploration through ancillary distribution windows. Products and services are available throughout the major release territories in the Americas, Europe and Asia, as well as emerging markets, and include materials testing (trailers, TV spots, print ads, etc.), concept and positioning studies, exit polls, recruited audience screenings, tracking studies, and focus groups, as well as a host of ad-hoc, custom offerings including brand/franchise studies, title tests, post-release studies, and attitudes and usage studies. In June 2012, MarketCast was acquired by Shamrock Capital Growth Fund III, a private equity fund focused exclusively on media, entertainment and communication investments and managed by Shamrock Capital Advisors.

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