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My Melrose Place Binge

April 25, 2013

Watching TV used to be different. We’d gather around the set at the appointed time and watch an episode of something and then wait until the next week at the appointed time and watch the next one. Every once in a while we’d be disappointed by a rerun thrown into the mix.

Then we got access to VCRs and could ask our parents to record every episode of Melrose Place so we could watch it on winter or spring breaks when home from school. I’d call that my introduction to binge viewing. And I feel for my poor mother who had to do the recording, and then understand the time I wanted to put in watching when I made it home. But then a career in advertising myself (without most of the soap opera salaciousness) has made it all worth it, I suppose.

But TV viewing now really is different. We watch shows on devices  and order them up at our convenience. We can get full access to older shows and watch episode upon episode all in a row.

And now we are even able to watch select new series, all at once. House of Cards (Netflix) and Bad Samaritan (Fox Digital) were released in their entirety and there are plans for other networks to offer up more series in this fashion.

Binge viewing has become common enough that it can be divided into two types – “marathon bingeing” and “catch-up bingeing.” Marathon bingers are most often watching a series that has already ended.  Catch-up bingers are watching past episodes of a series that is currently airing.

An NPD study looked at the most binged TV series available from subscription on demand services. In 2012 the top three were Prison Break, Charmed and That 70s Show.

A Harris Interactive study found that 62% if people who watch TV on demand have participated in binge viewing.
Comcast encouraged binge viewing during its Xfinity Watchathon Week in March 2013.

Give me the time and I’m sure I could get mixed up in a marathon of Melrose Place again. And give me the access to a new season of Mad Men, and I wouldn’t need a remote.

MediaPost.com, 4.18.13

Time.com, 4.11.13

CSMonitor.com, 4.4.13

VentureBeat.com, 3.29.13

NPD.com, 3.26.13

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