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Poor Hygiene, Oversleeping, Missed Meals: The Dark Side of Binge-Viewing

30 Apr, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

Seven out of 10 American TV viewers call themselves binge-viewers — watching three or more episodes of one series in a single sitting — and at least 17% of those are frequent binge-viewers, bingeing a few times per week or more.

Those considered frequent binge-viewers skew younger (61% are Millennials) and are more ethnically diverse (34% non-white, compared with 19% non-white for infrequent binge viewers, or those who binge once a month or less), according to a new study from research, marketing and brand consultancy Miner & Co. Studio.

The study examined the effect binge-viewing has on everyday life activities, and found that frequent binge-viewers are twice as likely than infrequent binge-viewers to skip bathing because of their shows.

Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed said binge-viewing makes them feel sluggish or lazy and 18% of all binge-viewers said they simply pay less attention to other aspects of their lives. Frequent binge-viewers were nearly three times more likely to order take-out instead of cooking, compared with infrequent binge-viewers, and more than twice as likely to oversleep the next morning.

Thirty percent said they dislike binge-viewing because it makes them less active. And while 43% of frequent binge-viewers said they watch more TV because of binge-viewing, 25% of all viewers surveyed said they dislike binge-viewing because they “don’t have anything left to watch once they finish.”

Overall, 71% said they considered binge-viewing as “totally normal” and 59% said it’s a harmless addiction.

“Binge-viewing has redefined the impact of the word ‘next’ for the industry,” said Robert Miner, president of Miner & Co. Studio. “It’s become a positive concept as viewers decide that, yes, they will watch the ‘next’ episode. Next now means ‘yes I’d like some more.’

“Our research shows that the way we consume entertainment continues to evolve — a pattern that we see repeated as viewers embrace and adapt to new platforms and choices. A great deal of attention has been paid, with good reason, to the role and impact of binge-viewing on dramas such as ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘House of Cards’ and ‘The Walking Dead.’”

Thirty-five percent of those who self-identified as binge-viewers streamed content via services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video, compared with 18% who binged on broadcast TV and 16% who binged using DVRs.

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