Binge Watching TV Makes It Less Enjoyable, Study Says

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  • #21151
    ZLoth
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    From Motherboard:

    Binge Watching TV Makes It Less Enjoyable, Study Says

    Once upon a time, the only way to watch your favorite TV show was by firing up the tube at the correct time and date. The inconvenience of having to orient your life around the airtime of new episodes of Survivor (or whatever it was that people watched before Game of Thrones) laid the foundation for Netflix, the alpha and omega of video on demand. Although it originally seemed doomed to obscurity as a mail-order DVD service, in the past decade Netflix has fundamentally changed the way we watch television by making every episode of a TV show hosted on the platform available at once.

    In other words, Netflix enabled us to gorge ourselves on premium TV content for hours on end, a phenomenon that has become known as binge watching. But according to a new study published this week in First Monday, binge watching your favorite TV show makes it less memorable and less enjoyable than watching it on a weekly basis.

    FULL ARTICLE HERE

    #21182
    Earl
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    I was binge watching before there was even a word for it. But there was a place for it. And the name of the place was Babylon 5.

    I’d argue that binge watching started with DVDs and DVRs, not with streaming.

    I will say, however, that there may be something to this article. In the olden days, when even binge-worthy shows like B5 and Buffy only showed up once a week (with maybe a three-days-later late-night repeat), what did we do? We talked about it. We didn’t take our attention away from the show to live-tweet it (I’m sorry, that’s just a stupid, stupid practice). We talked about it at work or on the interwebs or on our FidoNet echoes until the next one showed up. Theories were floated. Arguments started. A wild James Dixon would appear in a puff of noxious fumes to complain that the latest Trek episode violated his timeline.

    I’d say this really peaked with Lost, which really knew how to get the audience buzzing about stuff what with hatches in the ground and fluorescent hand-drawn maps on the wall and what not. Lost theorizing was a favorite hobby at work for the following week, even for those of us who worked at the station showing the thing. TV was still a thing you did with your friends – even if you watched it separately, you talked about it together.

    Maybe what’s happened isn’t the advent of streaming, maybe it’s the advent of Twitter and Facebook. Friends don’t do anything together anymore, much less talk TV, unless there’s a #meetup somewhere.

    Binge watching is about 20 years old now. I don’t think that’s what’s happened to diminish our enjoyment of anything. What’s happened has been social media.

    #21213
    ubikuberalles
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    I’d argue that binge watching started with DVDs and DVRs, not with streaming.

    VCRs in my case.

    I always recorded the TNG episodes when they were first broadcasted. I always used the EP mode which meant I could store six episodes per tape. Later, when I had the time and energy, I would record the first tape on to a second tape and pause recording during commercials (owning two VCRs back in the day was AWESOME!). With that I could store up to eight episodes per tape. Later on – during the summer break or after the series was over – I would binge watch the series. Nothing epic like twelve hour binges – usually only three or four hours stretches on the weekends (after all I have to mow the lawn, feed the cats, change the oil on the car…) – but I was able to get through a season fairly quickly.

    The process wasn’t perfect, I would miss recording a show and it would be missing until reruns. And then it would be out of sequence until I recorded everything to a second set of tapes.

    I did the same thing for Babylon5, Survivor and Max Headroom. In fact, I would say Max Headroom was my first binging experience (pretty short one too).

    Does the above count as binge watching? I don’t know since I had already watched the episodes at least once as they were broadcast before watching them en masse. I lacked an extensive socail network and I didn;’t know anyone who would record whole season of other shows on VCR tapes. All the shows I binged on VCR were shows I recorded myself.

    My first NetFlix binge watching was before NetFlix streaming. Near the end of 2008 I decided to finally watch Lost after years of ignoring friends pleas to watch it. I signed up for NetFlix just to watch the four seasons of the show and I was able to finish just before episode one of season five started. And then I had to wait for each episode to come out once a week like every other schmuck. 🙁

    So, as far Lost was concerned, I enjoyed the show more so via binge watching than I did viewing the conventional way. Certainly I was less upset than most fans when the disappointing finale came out because I only invested two years of my time on the show compered to other fans who spent six whole years on it.

    Like Earl said, it’s all about how you enjoy it via social media. Except for this forum, occasional posts on Facebook, and talks with real life friends and coworkers, I don’t do much socializing concerning TV. When I socialize – either IRL or online – I tend to talk about other things.

    I think part of the social media thing that makes binge watching less enjoyable is the spoilers. If you watched all the shows before a friend did you’ll have to wait until they get caught up before you can talk about it. If you are behind, then you potentially start acting like a jerk yelling at people not to reveal spoilers. I’m terrible about accidentally spilling spoilers. If you don’t want to know something about a show I watched before you watched it, stay away from me. One friend got super mad at me because I revealed a key fact from the movie Forsaken. I was given the impression he had seen it already. He hadn’t. OH BOY he hadn’t! He was PISSED! He held a grudge about that for years. These are the kinds of things that make binge watching less enjoyable.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by ubikuberalles ubikuberalles.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by ubikuberalles ubikuberalles.
    #21218
    Earl
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    I was archiving like crazy in the VHS days – Doctor Who, Star Trek of all flavors, Babylon 5 – and I fully admit to abusing the fact that I worked at a TV station: I’d dub fresh-off-the-satellite episodes down from 3/4″ tape to 3/4″ tape, editing the commercials out before it hit anything below broadcast quality, and then dubbing my edits down to VHS to take home. Good times.

    Amazing to think how much of my life was spent on doing that when someone can now watch commercial-free episodes of Babylon 5 or Star Trek at DVD quality (or better) for what is, these days, a pretty insignificant investment. But of course, at the time, either DVD hadn’t happened yet, and even once it did, full seasons of TV on DVD were not happening yet. I had rack upon rack upon rack of professionally labeled VHS tapes – correct logos and fonts, inkjet printed in color on glossy VHS labels I ordered in bulk.

    I’d occasionally turn around and binge watch from some of these tapes, especially shows like B5 that were built for it, but not terribly often.

    #21260
    ZLoth
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    I remember taping like crazy during the VHS days… partially because complete VHS collections were very rare, and when they were, they were extremely expensive AND took up a lot of shelf space. VHS tapes were only at 240i resolution at SP (2 hour) mode and cost around $1-$2 per tape to duplicate en-mass. In comparison, DVDs (and later BluRay) cost only pennies per disc to produce in bulk, has better resolution (480i for DVD) and took up very little shelf space.

    Of course, now, you can either watch the show through a digital distribution service, or set up a media server and serve your files from there.

    One interesting thing of note… when DVDs came out, it prompted the studios to clean up the older prints. All that dirt and such increases the MPEG compression file, and a clean print reduces that file size.

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