Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report points to the U.K. as having become a binge-viewing nation, with eight in ten adults watching multiple episodes of their favorite shows in a single sitting.
Around 40 million people use catch-up technology such as BBC iPlayer, or subscription services such as Netflix, to watch multiple episodes of a series in one sitting. One-third (35 percent) do so every week, and more than half (55 percent) do it monthly.
Most binge-viewers (70 percent) find this type of viewing relaxing and enjoyable; for others, it’s an opportunity to discuss with friends (24 percent). However, around a third (32 percent) of adults admit the temptation to watch another episode has come at the expense of sleep and left them feeling tired. More than seven in ten (74 percent) say they sometimes watch more than they intend to, and 18 percent say this always happens.
For many binge-watchers, the desire to keep up with programs is driven by the fear of someone spoiling a program’s ending (25 percent). This can result in some (16 percent) feeling under pressure to keep up with the viewing habits of family or friends.
Bingeing is most popular among young people: more than half (53 percent) of those aged 12 to 15 enjoy weekly watch-a-thons, compared to just 16 percent of over-65s. For that older age group, more than half (59 percent) prefer a traditional release of one episode per week.