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TheStreet Open House

Americans Taking Advantage Of Ability To Watch TV On Their Own Schedules

Nearly three-fourths of binge viewers report television (73%) as the device they most often find themselves binge viewing on, followed distantly by computers (22%).  However, a different story emerges among 18-29 year olds, among whom televisions (50%) and computers (42%) are in much closer contention.

Among those who ever binge view, nearly three in ten (28%) indicate that they are doing so more now than a year ago; just over half (52%) are doing so the same amount as a year ago, and two in ten (20%) are doing so less.

Looking forward, the binge viewing trend shows signs of leveling off; only one in ten Americans (9%) indicate that they expect to be binge viewing more a year from now, and two-thirds (67%)  expect to be doing so the same amount at that time as they are now.  One-fourth (24%) expect to be doing so less in a year.

So What?

Self-scheduled and binge television viewing trends suggest implications for the television industry at large, potentially impacting both advertisers and content producers.

For advertisers, the clearest impact is that some of these viewers will be taking in contact on platforms beyond their reach, such as Netflix and Amazon's VOD services. 

Content producers, meanwhile, have both positive and negative implications to explore.  On the upside, the ability to quickly catch up on past seasons of existing shows, particularly ones with complex storylines, could give more viewers the opportunity to jump into new episodes without confusion.  On the downside, viewers watching when they choose, not when it airs, can play havoc with ratings. 

Ultimately, TV programming needs to turn a profit in order to justify its production.  Looking ahead, the TV and advertising industries will need to find increasing ways to embrace the binge and make the when-I-want it trend work for them.

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