A leading television academic says binge viewing has now fallen out of fashion.
Writing in the academic journal Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, Dr Mareike Jenner of Anglia Ruskin University explains that even Netflix, which built its success on the concept of binge viewing is itself changing its approach.
Dr Jenner, who is also the author of the book Netflix and the Re-Invention of Television, said: “Last year Guy Pearce admitted he was instructed not to use the term while promoting The Innocents. The fact Netflix are telling their actors not to use the term in public means that binge-watching is becoming something to be frowned upon rather than celebrated.
Dr Jenner likens the change to the arrival of the remote control, which while initially enabling ‘channel surfing’ has developed into a behaviour used only by so-called couch potatoes.
“The change happened with the rapid growth of Netflix, which needed additional content to help its expansion. Netflix has extended into a broad variety of genres. That, coupled with low subscription costs, meant there was an almost inevitable backlash from the cultural commentators and trendsetters, probably fuelled by a large dollop of snobbery. Their elite activity was now being enjoyed by everyone.”
The normalisation of watching back-to-back episodes has evolved into a demonization of the practice.
Dr Jenner says platforms, such as Disney+, are now releasing one episode a week, as is the case with traditional TV.