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New Netflix Study Reveals Sociological Effects of Public Binge-Watching

When Bingeing Goes Public, Private Behaviors are Exposed and Social Norms are Shelved

New survey data from Netflix reveals 67% of people will risk embarrassment,
awkwardness and spoilers to watch their favorite shows and movies in public

In a world with 2.4 billion smartphone (1) users, mobile viewing is on the rise and “binge-free zones” are a thing of the past. But as millions of people take full advantage of Netflix to stream and download anytime and anywhere, private binge behaviors are now on public display.

So why are 67% of people globally willing to expose their entertainment emotions to watch outside their homes? Because public bingers rank having access to movies or shows higher than food and water as “essential” items for travelling or commuting (2). Just be prepared that streaming Stranger Things while surrounded by strangers is making social norms go upside down. And catching someone snooping on your screen during a risque scene or LOL’ing on a crowded train is the new normal.

We’re Being Watched While We’re Watching

Nearly half (45%) of those watching on the go have caught a backseat binger snooping on their screen. But there’s no reason to call Chief Hopper – only 18% of public bingers have felt embarrassed about what they’re watching and 77% refuse to turn off their show or movie. There’s no shame in our stream game.

We’re Spoiling Shows for Screen Snoopers (Sorry!)

Screen snooping can have real consequences! Eleven percent of public bingers have had a show or movie spoiled by seeing someone else’s screen. The risk is even greater if you plan to sneak a peak in South Korea where 24% have suffered from spoilers.

We’re Being Interrupted By Strangers

More than a quarter (27%) of public bingers have had a stranger interrupt their show or movie to start a conversation about what they’re watching. But that doesn’t mean we have to pull a Kingpin. Episode intruders are likely just jealous we remembered to download our shows before leaving the house.

We Wear Our Shows On Our Sleeves

No matter how meticulously we curate our lives on social media, there’s no filter for laughter or tears in real life. The majority of public bingers have laughed out loud and one in five have even cried while watching in public. Globally, Mexico, Colombia and Chile are the most outwardly emotional countries. Conversely, it’s unlikely to see a German bawling while they binge.

Ultimately, a spoiled show or a steamy scene streamed with a stranger is worth the awkwardness if it means we get to keep watching what we love. So next time you’re packing your bags, don’t forget to pack your favorite binge, too.

Methodology
*The survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey from August 24 – September 7, 2017 and based on 37,056 responses. The sample was balanced by age and gender and representative of an adult online population who watch movies and TV shows via streaming services in public settings in The United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.

(1) An estimated 2.4bn people will use a smartphone this year, an increase of 10.8 per cent, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.

(2) When asked to rank travel or commuting “essentials” public bingers globally listed “access to movies and tv shows” higher than food and beverages. (30% versus 25% and 23%, respectively).

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ABOUT NETFLIX

Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with over 93 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

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Jason Bennett

Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ’s chief editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. One with the Force. Browncoats Unite! So say we all!

Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett

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