No Right Answer: Best Way to Watch TV - Binge Viewing or Week to Week?

Best Way to Watch TV - Binge Viewing or Week to Week?

Bingeing on a TV season can be an experience different than the normal week-to-week viewing, but is it to the detriment of the series?

Watch Video

It sounds like the complaint is that some people can't control themselves when a good show has available episodes so they want the option taken away from everyone so that they don't do that to themselves.

This isn't something I appreciate people advocating they control for me. It's insulting, frankly. I'm a big boy and I know when to go to bed. I've got all kinds of entertainment at my disposal that could keep me busy every waking moment and yet somehow we find the strength to go to bed and go to work.

Look, just make all the shows available when possible and let viewers decide what to do with it. Don't make those of us who can actually control our impulses suffer because others lack self control. That's ridiculous, like removing soda from shelves because there are fat people who are addicted to them. People who want to mete it out over time can do that with all episodes released at once but people who just want to binge watch can't if you make it time-released.

The only middle ground I can think of is if they released a few episodes at a time. Some binge watching, some arbitrary totalitarian control. But even then, the insult is still there that I can't view content that has already been made because you can't handle it being there to your detriment.

As far as network TV, I understand that it's all about the adds. I get that they have to have it as weekly releases and that they have to have ads in it. Netflix is just looking for subscribers to their service so ads are a non-issue. Huluplus has the subscription angle that benefits one huge spike to get people subscribed too and they also have generally successful ads that can't be blocked as far as I'm aware. So binge watching works great for them. TV services are also generally perfecting On Demand that prevents fast forwarding over the adds. So the solution isn't full release or weekly releases on their end, it's really just about making sure the ads can't be blocked. If the ads have to be watched then they really shouldn't give a rat's ass over whether or not people watch them instantly or over weeks. It's the same amount of money in the bank for them.

As for the article that brought this up. For it to be a legitimate study on the comparison of the spike you'd have to have two or more examples of shows with similar fan bases/popularity to compare. Then you have to see if the total area on the graph under the one large spike for multiple episodic releases are greater or less than the total sum of the smaller spikes for the episodic release. If the difference is more or less for one then I guess that's saying something. But really it comes down to number of clicks. Who cares about social buzz if one show gets clicked a million more times? Maybe the two don't necessarily correlate if one large spike actually generates more clicks overall even if the amount of buzz over the life of the season is different? It certainly deserves to be reviewed but these are significant criticisms of the study.

"Hello, work? Yeah, I can't come in for the next few months. Why? I'm binge-watching a debate program on the internet. Well, they told me to... hello? Hello?"

Worth it.

Part of the reason my wife and I binge watch some shows is that primarily network TV is notorious now for only showing a few episodes in the new season before deciding to cancel them. I speak for myself that I try to avoid new shows in the first season simply because I don't want to waste my time if they get cancelled. The other reason as was touched on was the ability to not watch ads during the show. Right now our normal TV practice is to let the show record on our PVR for at least 20 minutes and then start watching so we can skip through the ads, by doing that we can usually catch up to the end of the show pretty much right as it finishes in real time.

Really the answer is British telly. Ignoring soaps, gameshows, etc. - when it comes to proper drama, the British format is to script and shoot a whole series at once, often months before airing - sure that means our series are 6 or 12 episodes generally, but they will always have a strongly consistent story that was fully scripted and directed by one or two people, rather than made up week by week in a writers room.
It then means our weekly instalments are individually much better because they connect much more strongly to the whole series.

Plus if it's the BBC there's no adverts anyway =D

Fundamentally, good tv dramas are designed to have suspense and pacing built in to them, so to binge watch if anything lessens their impact.

I agree. Nobody should be Lost.

As for the topic:

They can get rid of it, but it won't change the way I watch the shows. And I kind of wonder if it'd change the way most of us watch the shows.

I do get that we're an instant gratification culture, but the DVD model has been driving things along since basically the advent of season collections in the first place. We've been binge watching longer than there was Netflix and in a world where people can download off iTunes or stream instantly, DVD/BD still drive sales.

If there's one thing increasing cable prices taught me, it's that I can wait. I can wait the six months to a year to get it on DVD and I can often wait even longer to watch it on Netflix.

Also, 24's inconsistencies are bad no matter the timeframe.

There may be no right answer, but this is definitely my answer.

Good episode, though.

Lightknight:
It sounds like the complaint is that some people can't control themselves when a good show has available episodes so they want the option taken away from everyone so that they don't do that to themselves.

This isn't something I appreciate people advocating they control for me. It's insulting, frankly. I'm a big boy and I know when to go to bed. I've got all kinds of entertainment at my disposal that could keep me busy every waking moment and yet somehow we find the strength to go to bed and go to work.

Look, just make all the shows available when possible and let viewers decide what to do with it. Don't make those of us who can actually control our impulses suffer because others lack self control. That's ridiculous, like removing soda from shelves because there are fat people who are addicted to them. People who want to mete it out over time can do that with all episodes released at once but people who just want to binge watch can't if you make it time-released.

The only middle ground I can think of is if they released a few episodes at a time. Some binge watching, some arbitrary totalitarian control. But even then, the insult is still there that I can't view content that has already been made because you can't handle it being there to your detriment.

As far as network TV, I understand that it's all about the adds. I get that they have to have it as weekly releases and that they have to have ads in it. Netflix is just looking for subscribers to their service so ads are a non-issue. Huluplus has the subscription angle that benefits one huge spike to get people subscribed too and they also have generally successful ads that can't be blocked as far as I'm aware. So binge watching works great for them. TV services are also generally perfecting On Demand that prevents fast forwarding over the adds. So the solution isn't full release or weekly releases on their end, it's really just about making sure the ads can't be blocked. If the ads have to be watched then they really shouldn't give a rat's ass over whether or not people watch them instantly or over weeks. It's the same amount of money in the bank for them.

As for the article that brought this up. For it to be a legitimate study on the comparison of the spike you'd have to have two or more examples of shows with similar fan bases/popularity to compare. Then you have to see if the total area on the graph under the one large spike for multiple episodic releases are greater or less than the total sum of the smaller spikes for the episodic release. If the difference is more or less for one then I guess that's saying something. But really it comes down to number of clicks. Who cares about social buzz if one show gets clicked a million more times? Maybe the two don't necessarily correlate if one large spike actually generates more clicks overall even if the amount of buzz over the life of the season is different? It certainly deserves to be reviewed but these are significant criticisms of the study.

I agree with you in part but I think there's the problem of not being in a bubble. Sure you may pace things out properly to fit the show but others probably won't. Why is this your problem? Think about someone who rushed through game of thrones the first night of release and decides that means spoilers are okay a week later cause it's been out that long. There are too many people like this. It would be a nightmare to pace yourself and avoid having everything spoiled for you. Not impossible but it would be an unpleasant experience to say the least. The other issue is that it keeps everyone on the same page. If it's a show you like to discuss with others it's nice to have that uniform break in between with everyone on the same page instead of some people already being finished and making smug noises at your theories on where its going and others completely lost or unable to participate because they're just going through it slower. It's nice to have everyone on the same page. I'm not 100% on either being the best answer but a nicely paced show does have some uses beyond self regulating.

I disagree with the idea that being given a block of shows is intimidating to a potential viewer. If I'm cruising through Netflix and I see something I'm interested in that has 40, 60, 100+ episodes, I think, "This must be pretty good or it wouldn't have gotten this far." Being fed one episode at a time only increases the chances that I'll miss an episode, hope that I can find a rerun/online version before next week's episode airs, and either put pressure on myself to watch a TV show or to drop off it entirely.

On the other hand, there's things like Sherlock where I plowed through 3 seasons in under a week because there are only 3 episodes per season. I understand the frustration of wanting another season but having to wait a subjective eternity for the producers to finish their work.

Usually the only time I binge watch is if I am catching up on a series I missed or it's something I've already seen.

Rituro:
"Hello, work? Yeah, I can't come in for the next few months. Why? I'm binge-watching a debate program on the internet. Well, they told me to... hello? Hello?"

Worth it.

See?! You get it! You know what's best in life.

I'm going to give this one to Chris. Binge watching, whether by Netflix, hulu, DVR, or DVD box-sets has the advantage of giving you the viewer control of when and for how long you watch however many episodes of a show you feel like. Another plus is that many shows really do have many inter-weaving story lines that run in a single season (Game of Thrones) so you can wait at least 40+ minutes to see where this plot thread or that is going, instead of waiting a whole week. We viewers, thanks to school and work and other real world stuff to do, can easily forget quite a bit in a week.

Firefilm:

Rituro:
"Hello, work? Yeah, I can't come in for the next few months. Why? I'm binge-watching a debate program on the internet. Well, they told me to... hello? Hello?"

Worth it.

See?! You get it! You know what's best in life.

3:20 Eh, I thought Cheadle was alright.

4:20 Somebody isn't patient for the good stuff. Dan? =)

6:48 About the same. I don't want to be out of the loop on a show I like. Therefore, I like the convenience of streaming sites.It really helps me out, because I either A. Have no Idea when the show itself will show up on TV again, B. Missed a week or two, or C. It's a show that's in it's mid-way point on some other season, and I'm just now getting into it.

Binge watching is definitely better, but it does have its disadvantages. Sometimes I've watched something and wanted to talk about it or rant about how bad it was like Kyle said, but I can't because I would have to necro a thread. The best thing to do is watch a show after its finished entirely but of course if people did that there would be no TV. The problem with bingeing a season of a current show like I do with Supernatural etc is that when I watch a season its been an entire year since the last season, rather than 3 months, so I can't remember a dam thing that happened.

There IS a way of making a sweeping declaration.

Getting the whole season is best. It gives you choice. In fact, I sometimes save entire seasons for that specific purpose. There is nothing more frustrating than watching a GREAT episode of one of my fav shows....only to realize towards the last 5 minutes that this is gonna end on one hell of a cliffhanger....if I WANT to watch another episode, and I have the time...then I can.

Choice is the important thing here. No one is forcing you to binge watch if you dont want to, but publishers CAN force you to go once a week.

Choice is always the best...er...choice.

I'm going to speak in anime terms here, because, really, it's media, and it airs on a weekly basis, so, yeah.

Some of the anime I've watched, that I find least memorable, I watched in a period of 2-3 days. Gode Geass? Can't tell you the plot, other than mechs, super powered eye, war, and awkward spaghetti with C.C., along with some other minor details. Eureka Seven? I remember the outline, but I can't pick too many moments off of the show, and while I was obsessed with it back then, I don't care to remember it now. Gundam Seed Destiny? I remember like 3 major points of the whole show. I can recognize the characters, that's about it. Mirai Nikki? That doesn't count because I watched it like 3 times, but I guess the point I'm trying to make is that binge watching might give you the same memorable experience as a week-to-week schedule if you watch all of the episodes three times or more.

Now, for shows I've watched week to week. Nanana's Buried Treasure or whatever. Pretty mediocre, but it has some original ideas (I guess, still mediocre). I disliked it, but I remember it well, and I pondered it much more than anything mentioned above (except for Yuno kill4 Yukki), and received enjoyment and emotional returns accordingly. Kill la Kill? Okay, to be fair, I binge watched the first like 7 episodes. Still. Most memorable show for me. It probably sucks. I'll never know. Because I had that week in between each episode to ponder and overthink it to death, it made sense to me; my character's name in multiple games is SatsukiSenpai.

Don't get me wrong. I'm watching two shows as they air right now (mainly one that I care about - Sword Art Online II), and I want to see the next episode. I'd sell my soul to be able to binge watch it. I can't wait until this saturday, so I can find out what happens next. That half hour will be one of the best half hours of my week (or worst, because anime is still anime), and while the other 167.5 hours will basically be me waiting for the next episode to come, in the back of my mind, I can't help but feel that this is better than binge watching, even when it strictly comes down to personal enjoyment.

I'm not miserable right now. I don't feel like my life is empty. The episode at the end of the week is basically a mini-christmas. That would suck if my present wasn't basically something to ponder and digest for the next week so I don't overthink something stupid like my comments on The Escapist or something.

I wont watch any show that I can't watch at my own pace so I have to side with the binge viewing style.

One of the disadvantages to binge watching I've found is that when binge watching it's hard for it to sink in. Like I don't even remember all the shows that I've binge watched.

Honestly I think it depends in part on the type of show, some shows it's a lot easier to "OD" on to the point you get sick of them, others work better back-to-back, it's also partly down to the individual viewer and what feels right for them, some people have the time to binge watch and can digest all that content in a short span of time, others like having anticipation for next week.

Really depends on the show.

Take something slice-of-lifey, like Friends. There is no way in hell you could get me to watch all that in a row. For the first few seasons it's like it doesn't even HAVE a narrative, it's very week-to-week and the episodes are almost completely detached.

Then you take something like Attack on Titan. I watched a single episode of that and realised I was going to have to binge it, otherwise the suspense would kill me. Sure enough, I binged on it a couple of weeks ago and I'm so glad I waited. The story was tight, the character development logical (even the comic relief Potato Girl couldn't remain so gormless in the face of that kind of horror) and they give you just enough mystery and just enough answers to keep you interested.

Except the lab. Fuck that lab. We were promised the Goddamned lab and after 26 episodes we STILL didn't get it.

The binge method seems to be becoming the most in-demand method of delivering content, especially with the younger generation. On-demand & Streaming will likely become the new normal over the next few years, with legacy week-to-week cable programming only existing for a declining audience.

People want content. And they want it when they want to watch it, and where they want to watch it. 6am on your cell phone while riding the train into work? Streaming has you covered. Noon at lunch time on the office PC? Ditto there. And even if people have to wait X months for the next season of something, they'll no doubt be enjoying another bunch of programs in the meantime.

On-demand is the future! :D

I guess you could say this topic has... *shades* No Right Answer.

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

*ahem* OT: Yea it seems really down to personal preference and what show you're watching. Personally I prefer binge watching and if I'd had to wait a week between episodes of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I would have gone insane.

I just wanted to pop in and say Kyle is completely wrong about 24. It is only good for me as a binge-watching experience because you can get through a few plotlines in a night of viewing 3 or 4 episodes. Watching 24 week-to-week is boring and weird, at least for me.

Chris is the future!

I was going to bige-watch all of No Right Answer at one point in time... but, then I remember when I tried to do that with Zero Punctuation... (My laugh box took a while to recover from that incident, mind you...)

Anyway, I say watch an episode a day to keep your cravings from controlling and/or dictating you life, basically... That's the only watch to binge-watch in real time, in my opinion, without completely neglecting the "week-to-week"-esque structure completely... (Then again, as a show creator, that should be something to put into consideration once viewers are given ways of doing either or down the line, basically... But, that's just me...)

Loki_The_Good:

Lightknight:
It sounds like the complaint is that some people can't control themselves when a good show has available episodes so they want the option taken away from everyone so that they don't do that to themselves.

This isn't something I appreciate people advocating they control for me. It's insulting, frankly. I'm a big boy and I know when to go to bed. I've got all kinds of entertainment at my disposal that could keep me busy every waking moment and yet somehow we find the strength to go to bed and go to work.

Look, just make all the shows available when possible and let viewers decide what to do with it. Don't make those of us who can actually control our impulses suffer because others lack self control. That's ridiculous, like removing soda from shelves because there are fat people who are addicted to them. People who want to mete it out over time can do that with all episodes released at once but people who just want to binge watch can't if you make it time-released.

The only middle ground I can think of is if they released a few episodes at a time. Some binge watching, some arbitrary totalitarian control. But even then, the insult is still there that I can't view content that has already been made because you can't handle it being there to your detriment.

As far as network TV, I understand that it's all about the adds. I get that they have to have it as weekly releases and that they have to have ads in it. Netflix is just looking for subscribers to their service so ads are a non-issue. Huluplus has the subscription angle that benefits one huge spike to get people subscribed too and they also have generally successful ads that can't be blocked as far as I'm aware. So binge watching works great for them. TV services are also generally perfecting On Demand that prevents fast forwarding over the adds. So the solution isn't full release or weekly releases on their end, it's really just about making sure the ads can't be blocked. If the ads have to be watched then they really shouldn't give a rat's ass over whether or not people watch them instantly or over weeks. It's the same amount of money in the bank for them.

As for the article that brought this up. For it to be a legitimate study on the comparison of the spike you'd have to have two or more examples of shows with similar fan bases/popularity to compare. Then you have to see if the total area on the graph under the one large spike for multiple episodic releases are greater or less than the total sum of the smaller spikes for the episodic release. If the difference is more or less for one then I guess that's saying something. But really it comes down to number of clicks. Who cares about social buzz if one show gets clicked a million more times? Maybe the two don't necessarily correlate if one large spike actually generates more clicks overall even if the amount of buzz over the life of the season is different? It certainly deserves to be reviewed but these are significant criticisms of the study.

I agree with you in part but I think there's the problem of not being in a bubble. Sure you may pace things out properly to fit the show but others probably won't. Why is this your problem? Think about someone who rushed through game of thrones the first night of release and decides that means spoilers are okay a week later cause it's been out that long. There are too many people like this. It would be a nightmare to pace yourself and avoid having everything spoiled for you. Not impossible but it would be an unpleasant experience to say the least. The other issue is that it keeps everyone on the same page. If it's a show you like to discuss with others it's nice to have that uniform break in between with everyone on the same page instead of some people already being finished and making smug noises at your theories on where its going and others completely lost or unable to participate because they're just going through it slower. It's nice to have everyone on the same page. I'm not 100% on either being the best answer but a nicely paced show does have some uses beyond self regulating.

Are you saying that weekly shows like Game of Thrones don't still have a "spoilers" problem there too? I don't know about you but I haven't watched live TV in about four years now. I got's shit to do, yo, and my DVR allows that I decide what I watch and when. You want to guess how I did with just one day delay when a certain character died via poison? I didn't.

So I categorically reject that episodic TV is somehow immune to the same thing. For all but the people who still watch it live. Now, from my personal experience not even my parents still do that and I once had a ten minute conversation with my mother on how to unplug a router (it was mainly over the confusion of if she should unplug it from the wall or from the device and rather than just giving her an answer I tried to explain that either option would work.... *sigh*).

Do you watch shows live yourself or do you regularly find yourself a few days behind on some?

Lightknight:
Are you saying that weekly shows like Game of Thrones don't still have a "spoilers" problem there too? I don't know about you but I haven't watched live TV in about four years now. I got's shit to do, yo, and my DVR allows that I decide what I watch and when. You want to guess how I did with just one day delay when a certain character died via poison? I didn't.

So I categorically reject that episodic TV is somehow immune to the same thing. For all but the people who still watch it live. Now, from my personal experience not even my parents still do that and I once had a ten minute conversation with my mother on how to unplug a router (it was mainly over the confusion of if she should unplug it from the wall or from the device and rather than just giving her an answer I tried to explain that either option would work.... *sigh*).

Do you watch shows live yourself or do you regularly find yourself a few days behind on some?

Immune is a strong word but they are more resistant to the issue and limits it somewhat imagine finding that out at the start of the season. Game of throne is also a special case because the books are already out so some people knew well before the actual episode and talked about it in anticipation.

I wouldn't say I watch much live but I do watch within about a day of airing when I get a chance.

Personally I like both formats depending on the type of show. I show with a strong tight story works great all at once (actually Game of Thrones would be better suited for this style) but I find shows that focus on slow world building and more episodic style episodes such as supernatural or StarTrek benefit more from a much slower pacing. Sure you can do this yourself but especially ones that use slow reveals and tension really test one's will power and also more to my second point they're fun to guess about and discuss which goes back to my second point on having everyone on the same page when speculating. Granted that part isn't necessary to the show but if you enjoy a series socially it is helpful to build a community.

Firefilm:
Best Way to Watch TV - Binge Viewing or Week to Week?

Bingeing on a TV season can be an experience different than the normal week-to-week viewing, but is it to the detriment of the series?

Watch Video

Is someone on the team a Yogscast fan? Or was the picture taken from the Honeydew version of the He-Man version of the song 'What's Up' by 4 Non Blondes just a coincidence?

Either way a good choice.

Binge watch for me. Most series I want to watch aren't even on TV here, or if they are, they are at really inconvenient times. So it's much easier to pop in a DVD or BluRay or go on Netflix in the weekend and watch a couple of episodes of the series, then repeat the next time I have free time available.

Yes, this doesn't always work well for series designed to have a separate story each week without a main story for the whole season but honestly, those aren't really the shows I do this for. I don't see myself sitting down and watch 4 CSI episodes in a row, but I will do so for e.g. Doctor Who.

The side of the story that I think was missed in this episode is that a lot of binge watchers don't actually full-on watch as much as they can in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes you watch a season in a weekend, sometimes you watch 2 or 3 episodes in a week and sometimes you take a month-long break from watching a show. It all depends on personal preference and circumstance.

The main point of this is that not every viewer is created equally. Some people don't have the motivation or time to watch everything at once or one episode a week. I've seen many people being turned off to Game of Thrones despite liking it saying they just don't like or can't handle the way it's scheduled. One particular friend works as a captain on sea freighters and is either gone for three months or home for three months at a time. Binge watching shows fills up his free time while once-a-week shows are next to impossible for him to get invested in due to his work schedule.

It seems that the spit-take argument that people want control deserved points. Not everyone has the same life and/or personal preferences. In an age where control over media consumption has become almost absolute it just seems silly to keep old, monolithic structures alive in favor of something that encourages consumption in the way the consumer thinks is the best fit to his or her preference. Long live consumer choice! Long live all-at-once releases!

fletch_talon:

Firefilm:
Best Way to Watch TV - Binge Viewing or Week to Week?

Bingeing on a TV season can be an experience different than the normal week-to-week viewing, but is it to the detriment of the series?

Watch Video

Is someone on the team a Yogscast fan? Or was the picture taken from the Honeydew version of the He-Man version of the song 'What's Up' by 4 Non Blondes just a coincidence?

Either way a good choice.

Dan is a huge yogscast fan, and since he's the editor, everyone gets to know it! Diggy diggy hole!

Using my own experience as a reference, I think binge watching is a better option when you either have a lot of catching up to do with a show and you want to get to where it currently is, or if you have a large amount of shows that you want to catch up with, so it's better to catch up ASAP. The best part of week-to-week is the social aspect, where you know that people like you will be watching the show at the same time, and you can share that experience with others in the moment.

Binge watch is the only way to watch. I always wait until the season is over, then get the whole season and watch it. i dont wantch all 24 episodes at once, more like 2-3 per evening, but it rarely takes more than 2 weeks to watch whole season. watching it week-to-week would be torture to me.

As far as whats better for the show - the watchers having a choice how to watch is better for the show, obviously. that way you attract more viewers.

As far as networks/producers - tough shit, you should be catering to audience, not the other way around.

 

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