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We’re all binge watchers now, says Netflix

Netflix has done more than most to turn us into inert couch potatoes, and a new survey commissioned by the company shows that 61 percent of US adults now “binge watch” shows at least once a week. For the purposes of the research, binge watching was defined as watching 2-3 episodes in a row, which would be considered barely worth the effort for the more serious binge watchers out there.

Netflix used marketing company Harris Interactive to poll 3,078 US adults, and the study’s findings offer plenty of insights into our new on-demand streaming culture. 73 percent of respondents said they enjoy binge watching and don’t feel guilty about it, while 79 percent said that binge watching makes a show more enjoyable. Over a third (37 percent) of those questioned said they prefer to ‘save up’ episodes to watch in one go rather than tuning in as they are released.

As well as carrying content from a variety of partners, Netflix has moved into original programming with the critically acclaimed House Of Cards series and other shows. The second season of House Of Cards arrives in February, and as with the first batch of episodes, Netflix is making the whole series available to watch at once — good news for binge watchers everywhere.

Two-thirds of the people polled said that there was just too much good TV to watch, while just under half are in the habit of streaming a show at least once a week or more. Of those who run through a whole season within a month, a quarter complete the job in just two days.

Naturally Netflix wanted to add some meat to the bones of the survey. “Netflix has pioneered audience choice in programming and has helped free consumers from the limitations of linear television,” said Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “Our own original series are created for multi-episodic viewing, lining up the content with new norms of viewer control for the first time.”

Cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken was also on hand to offer his insights into the findings: “I found that binge watching has really taken off due to a perfect storm of better TV, our current economic climate and the digital explosion of the last few years. TV viewers are no longer zoning out as a way to forget about their day, they are tuning in, on their own schedule, to a different world.”