Binge-watching isn’t just for millennials: study
MTM's new research finds the act is increasingly popular with those over 50, and Netflix is now outpacing PVR and live TV.
If you’ve ever sat for hours in front of your TV set — or laptop, or mobile phone — devouring episode after episode of your favourite drama, comedy or doc series, you’re not alone. A new study by the Media Technology Monitor (MTM) found that 54% of Canadians have binge-watched a show in the past year.
The study, the second of its kind for the MTM, set out to determine how prevalent binge-watching — defined by the research organization as watching three or more episodes of a program in succession on any medium — is in Canada.
It sampled 12,000 Canadians (6,000 anglophone and 6,000 francophone) through telephone interviews during the spring of 2016. The last survey, conducted in spring of 2013, found that around 50% of Canadians were binge-watching.
Binge-watching isn’t just a once-in-awhile affair for TV fans. Of the percentage of Canadians who engage in binge-watching, 22% of those respondents report doing it more than once per week.
While binge-watching is on the rise slightly, the bigger change is the way in which people binge-watch their content.
Three years ago, the most prominent form of binge-watching was still through scheduled linear TV marathons (34%), followed by PVR and Netflix (both 27%), DVDs (14%) and online apps (13%).
The MTM has since changed some of the formatting of its survey, including combining PVR and scheduled TV into the same category (the two, combined, represent how 37% of respondents marathon their content). The biggest rise is Netflix, which now represents 46% of all binge-watching platforms.
While marathoning TV may be seen as a young person’s game, binge-watching is relatively spread out among age demographics. While 72% of those age 18 to 34 are binge-watchers (compared to 64% in 2013), the activity is creeping upward in older demographics ever so slightly.
These days, 58% of Gen X-ers (35 to 49) binge-watch (up from 53% in 2013) while 48% of people age 50 to 64 and 29% of those 65 and older do so (in 2013, 38% of those over age 50 reported binge-watching activity).
Although Netflix is seen as the primary SVOD in Canada, it may soon face some significant competition in the realm of binge-watching. Amazon recently launched its video streamer, Amazon Prime Video, in all global territories, making its vast library of movies and TV shows (including the Emmy-winning Transparent and Top Gear spin-off The Grand Tour) available in Canada for the first time.
However, with a penetration of 48% of Canada’s anglophone market (according to previous research by the MTM) established local competitors such as Bell Media’s Crave TV and the Rogers Media’s now-defunct shomi have barely made a dent in Netflix. Last year, the MTM found that of all Canadian SVOD subscribers, 80% subscribed only to Netflix, whereas an additional 13% subscribed to Netflix and one more service (7% to Crave TV, 6% to shomi). Only 4% subscribed only to shomi and 3% only to Crave.
From Media in Canada
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