Skip to main content

People really will binge on Netflix anywhere these days — even public restrooms

netflix public binge watch tablet outdoors
People are watching Netflix on trains and buses, at the office, and in public restrooms. Wait, restrooms? It seems that people will binge on Netflix anywhere these days.

Now that technology allows us to stream and download video to mobile devices more easily than ever, Netflix and similar services have well and truly left the living room to enjoy a new existence out in the wild.

Exactly a year after Netflix made it even easier to watch content on the go, research conducted by SurveyMonkey on behalf of the company has revealed that 67 percent of folks who use streaming services happily watch content when out and about.

“Be prepared that streaming Stranger Things while surrounded by strangers is making social norms go upside down,” Netflix said in response to its findings. “And catching someone snooping on your screen during a risqué scene or LOL’ing on a crowded train is the new normal.”

Ah yes, snooping. If you’re one of those who likes to spend your commute watching a show or movie, have you ever caught someone looking over your shoulder? According to the research, almost half (45 percent) of those watching on the go have caught a “backseat binger,” as Netflix calls them, snooping on their screen.

Only 18 percent have ever felt embarrassed about what they’ve been spotted watching, though whether that’s down to the content or the personality of the viewer is anyone’s guess. Risking having their sanity questioned, more than half of the survey’s 37,000 respondents admitted they’ve suddenly laughed out loud —in public — while watching video content on their phone, while 20 percent have cried.

But have you ever considered that watching content in public risks ruining a show or movie for others? Eleven percent of public bingers have apparently been hit with spoilers, suggesting they should really fire up their own smartphones rather than spend time looking at those of their fellow commuters.

While you might think that being glued to videos means blocking out the rest of the world, 27 percent of public bingers have had their viewing experience interrupted by a stranger who wanted to chat about what they’re watching. The survey declines, however, to mention what percent of bingers felt annoyed by having their viewing experience disrupted.

For some addicts, the bingeing doesn’t even stop when they get to work, with 37 percent admitting to having sneaked a peek when they should’ve been doing other things, and 12 percent admitting to hitting the play button in the restroom.

And as if you needed more proof of how streaming services are seemingly taking over our lives, most public bingers in the survey said “access to movies and TV shows” was more important than enjoying a bite to eat while traveling. Although they probably do both anyway.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Netflix reportedly planning its first live sports broadcast
The Netflix logo is displayed on a TV screen while red lights illuminate the wall behind.

Netflix is planning its first sports-based live stream, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday.

The streaming giant is in talks to create a celebrity golf tournament featuring professional golfers and Formula 1 drivers, according to people claiming to have knowledge of the matter.

Read more
Where to watch Harry & Meghan, the Netflix documentary series
Prince Harry snuggles with Meghan Markle in Harry & Meghan.

Everyone loves a little palace intrigue. In particular, the English royal family has been a constant source of fascination for centuries. From Henry VIII's doomed wives to Princess Margaret and her many scandalous affairs, the public, both in the U.K. and the rest of the world, has been eager to find out everything there is to know about the monarchy's dysfunctional family.

Most popular and intriguing of all was the late Princess Diana and her two children, Prince William and Prince Harry. It was the latter's marriage to American film actress Meghan Markle that seemed to signal a new, brighter, and more diverse era for the British royals. But it was not meant to be, and after an acrimonious split from their royal relatives, the disenfranchised couple is ready to tell their story. The documentary series Harry & Meghan promises to reveal many secrets from England's most private institution, but when does it air and where is it being streamed?
Where can you watch Harry & Meghan?

Read more
Best Latino shows on Netflix (November 2022)
The cast of The Secret of the Greco Family.

Many great shows originate from Latin America. They run the gamut from conventional dramas and comedies to the story of a soccer team tied to drug trafficking. Unsurprisingly, Netflix is the home to a wide variety of Latin American shows, so we've put together a list of the ones you should watch that are currently available on the streaming platform.

The Secret of the Greco Family (2022)

Read more