ArticlePDF Available

Is Heavy Binge-watching a Socially Driven Behaviour? Exploring Differences Between Heavy, Regular and Non-binge-watchers

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Heavy binge-watching of serialized video content might be in part socially motivated. Among a sample of US college students, heavy binge-watchers were more likely to be opinion leaders and to experience fear of missing out (FOMO) than regular binge-watchers or non-binge-watchers. They also reported higher levels of parasocial engagement with the shows’ characters than other viewers. Contrary to common beliefs, heavy binge-watching did not come at the cost of decreased social engagement. Quite the opposite: heavy binge-watchers reported spending significantly more time in interactions with friends and family on a daily basis than non-binge-watchers. Heavy binge-watching was also modestly associated with a few negative outcomes (loss of sleep and decrease in productivity).
Content may be subject to copyright.
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
1
Is Heavy Binge-Watching A Socially Driven Behaviour? Exploring Differences Between
Heavy, Regular and Non-Binge-Watchers
Results of an online survey suggest that heavy binge-watching might be in part socially
motivated. Among a sample of US college students, heavy binge-watchers were more
likely to be opinion leaders and to experience Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) than
regular binge-watchers or non-binge-watchers. They also reported higher levels of
parasocial engagement with the shows’ characters than other viewers. Contrary to
common beliefs, heavy binge-watching did not come at the cost of decreased social
engagement. Quite the opposite: heavy binge-watchers reported spending significantly
more time in interactions with friends and family on a daily basis than non-binge-
watchers. Heavy binge-watching was also modestly associated with a few negative
outcomes (loss of sleep and decrease in productivity).
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
2
Introduction
A major shift in the consumption of serialized TV content has occurred during the last
decade, expanding traditional views on what constitutes television (Thompson and Mittell
2013). The traditional model of appointment-based viewing, that is, watching an episode at
the time of its broadcast, then waiting several days or more for the next episode to be aired, is
being replaced by the asynchronous streaming of multiple episodes in one sitting, via
internet-based Video-On-Demand platforms like Netflix or Hulu, at one’s own pace and
convenience – a practice known as binge-watching (Flayelle et al. 2018).
As early as 2013, Netflix reported that 61% of U.S. adult television streamers binged
regularly (Netflix 2013). More recent surveys put the figure at 70% or higher, emphasizing
that Millennials and Generation Z are particularly inclined to binge-watch (Sabin 2018;
Dennis et al. 2018).
This sweeping change in audience behaviour has prompted a reconsideration of the
traditional models of broadcast TV. It has altered the structure of the television and video
entertainment industries (Radošinská 2017), the narrative structure of TV shows (Bernardin
2018) and the ways audiences engage with those shows (Steiner 2017), challenging the
industry’s revenue models (Schweidel and Moe 2016; Jenner 2017) and its established modes
of content production and distribution, in what some call a revolution within television
industries (Lotz 2014).
Academic research on the topic has also started to flourish, though some basic
questions about binge-watching remain unanswered. Among them is the need to better
understand socially related predictors and consequences of binge-watching. The present study
employs data from a survey of college students (N=378) to explore part of the answer. We do
so while recognizing that not all binge-watchers are the same, and not everyone who binge-
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
3
watches does so in equal measure (Trouleau et al. 2016). Thus, we examine socially related
correlates of binge-watching with the goal of highlighting differences between heavy binge-
watchers (HBWs) and other TV viewers, such as regular binge-watchers (RBWs) and non-
binge-watchers (NBWs). The insights have both theoretical and practical value.
Defining binge-watching
Precisely what constitutes binge-watching is still being negotiated by scholars and
entertainment industry practitioners. Most authors use ‘number of episodes’ as the operating
criterion and define binge-watching as consuming a minimum number of episodes in one
session (Pittman and Sheehan 2015; Dennis et al. 2018; Trouleau et al. 2016; Merikivi et al.
2018). This view resembles the public’s intuitive understanding of the behaviour. In an
industry study of U.S. streamers, 73% of respondents self-defined binge-watching as
consuming two to six episodes of a show in one sitting (Netflix 2013). Admittedly, this
perspective has limitations in that it fails to consider the duration of a show’s episode, which
can vary considerably, from 20 minutes for some programs to an hour or more for others.
Other scholars maintain that binge-watching hinges on the length of the viewing
session, a conceptual stance which arguably captures better the ‘overconsumption’ aspect of
the experience (Perks 2014). But this approach may not suffice, either. Should watching two
episodes of an hour-long program count as a binge? Perhaps not, although to many people,
the same two hours would count as binge-watching if one consumed four consecutive
episodes of a 30-minute show.
McNamara (2012) proposed that binge-watching should be defined by both the
duration of a viewing session and a minimum number of episodes per sitting. In spite of
being the most conceptually sound, this approach has not gained much traction, possibly
because its complexity makes it hard to employ in field studies. Indeed, most research on
binge-watching is based on surveys, whereby audience members are asked to self-select as
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
4
binge-watchers or non-binge-watchers based on a definition proposed by the researchers.
Respondents can find it difficult to multiply the number of episodes they typically watch by
the average duration of an episode, to determine if they qualify as binge-watchers.
Although a consensus has yet to emerge, using minimum number of episodes as the
defining criterion is endorsed by most communication researchers (e.g., Pittman and Sheehan
2015; Dennis et al. 2018) and those in other disciplines (e.g., Troleau et al. 2016; Merikivi et
al. 2017). Therefore, binge-watching is hereby defined as watching three or more episodes of
the same show in one sitting. Three is also the benchmark for binge-watching for digital
video-recording company, TiVo (2015), and by audience research company, Deloitte, whose
‘Digital Democracy Survey’ defined binge-watching as ‘watching three or more episodes of
one show’ per viewing session (Deloitte 2015). This number is also in line with data reported
by academic researchers (e.g., Walton-Pattison et al. 2018; Trouleau et al. 2016).
That said, how often people engage in binge-watching (or, binge-watching frequency)
is an additional dimension of the behaviour, rather than part of its definition. As with other
activities, frequency can vary from never binge-watching to doing so numerous times a week
(e.g., Trouleau et al. 2016). Depending on binge-watching frequency, viewers can be grouped
into several binge-watching levels, from non-binge-watchers to regular binge-watchers to
heavy binge-watchers. Exploring how these audience clusters may differ in terms of social
correlates of binge-watching is important because frequent users have been shown to differ
significantly from regular users or non-users across many consumption domains. This has
been true for consumer clusters both in the case of traditional TV consumption (Kubey 1996)
and in the case of other bingeing behaviours (e.g., Wechsler et al. 1994) – the two areas of
inquiry most apt to inform research in the binge-watching domain (e.g., Jenner 2017; de
Feijter et al. 2016). Yet, binge-watching frequency has been discussed much less in the
literature than session duration – the other dimension of the binge-watching experience.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
5
Finally, describing differences among HBWs, RBWs and NBWs has practical implications
for series creators and marketers; if significant differences exist, these frequency clusters can
be used to segment the audience and separately target each group. These, and other similar
considerations, guided this study’s focus on understanding and highlighting differences
among HBWs, RBWs and NBWs.
The social utilities of binge-watching
According to extant research, binge-watching is most often a solitary behaviour which
typically takes place at home, with some respondents admitting they have sometimes cleared
several days to binge-watch (Steiner and Xu 2018; Conlin 2015). Indeed, streaming services
often release full seasons of programs on Fridays to enable and encourage binge-watching
(Jurgensen 2012). Add to this time commitment the immersive nature of binge-watching,
which takes attention away from the external environment (Pierce-Grove 2017; Schweidel
and Moe 2016), and one can see how binge-watching might undercut engagement in social
interactions.
It would be reasonable to expect, then, that at least among those who devote a lot of
time to binge-watching (HBWs), the activity might come at the cost of spending less time
with friends and family. Predicting that HBWs might be less engaged socially than RBWs
and NBWs would also be consistent with early findings on television consumption, where
heavy viewing was found to displace other activities, including social engagement with
friends and relatives (Kubey 1996; Williams 1986). Such a prediction would also be
supported by the core tenet of McCombs’ (1972) displacement theory: since an individual’s
time is a limited resource, participation in mediated communication may come at the expense
of community-based communication (and vice-versa).
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
6
Yet, findings from a growing stream of inquiry on binge-watching would challenge
such a hypothesis. Those studies explore audience motivations to binge-watch from a uses
and gratifications (U&G) perspective (e.g., A.M. Rubin 2009; Ruggiero 2000) and indicate
that heavy binge-watching might be associated with social gratifications and motives that in
fact foster social engagement (e.g., Ramayan et al. 2018).
For example, Steiner and Xu (2018) applied the U&G framework to the study of
binge-watching. They discovered that viewers binge to catch up on their shows, relax and
achieve a sense of completion, but also for social inclusion. The researchers called this social
engagement motive ‘cultural inclusion,’ and noted that people binge-watch to integrate
socially both face-to-face and in online communities, which were seen by some study
participants as the digital equivalent of ‘chatting by the water cooler’ (Steiner and Xu 2018:
10).
A link between binge-watching and social engagement was also reported by Panda
and Pandey (2017), who explored U&G of binge-watching among college students in
interviews and focus groups, finding that social engagement was one of the most important
motivations to binge-watch.
These findings are not surprising. The social determinants of TV consumption, and in
particular the use of television to enhance social interactions, have been recognized as
important from the earliest formulations of the U&G framework (Katz et al. 1973; A.M.
Rubin 1983). Decades later, the social utility function still figures prominently as a
determinant of media consumption in audience research (Ruggiero 2000). In fact, the social
engagement aspect of what Steiner and Xu (2018) describe as a key gratification of binge-
watching—namely, cultural inclusion—is known in psychology as the ‘relatedness
motivation,’ a key component of Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Ryan and Deci 1991,
2000). Defined as one’s inherent desire to perform an action to better connect oneself to peers
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
7
and others, relatedness can be a compelling factor in behavioural decisions (Deci and Ryan
1991), including decisions to binge-watch.
Hypotheses and research questions
In sum, although binge-watching has been described as a solitary experience that
reduces time with others (de Feijter et al. 2016; Steiner and Xu 2018), research has also
shown that binge-watching regularly facilitates social interaction, both face-to-face and
particularly in digital spaces (e.g., Panda and Pandey 2017; Matrix 2014; Steiner and Xu
2018). In absence of clear evidence for a directional hypothesis, the following research
question is posed:
RQ1: Are there any significant differences in social engagement among heavy binge-
watchers, regular binge-watchers and non-binge-watchers of serialized video content?
One consequence of heavy binge-watching in particular is that those who engage in it
may start to be seen by others as a source of advice on what shows to watch, becoming what
Katz and Lazarsfeld (1955) described as opinion leaders. In their seminal study, Katz and
Lazarsfeld (1955) noted that certain consumers are seen as experts by others because of their
perceived higher knowledge in a specific consumption domain. The researchers observed that
these ‘marketing leaders’ (later known as ‘opinion leaders’) are valued for their advice,
influence a significant percent of others’ decisions and engage in active information seeking
in that specific domain. While traditional research emphasizes the power of opinion
leadership within the context of face-to-face communication (e.g., Katz and Lazarsfeld 1955;
Valente and Davis 1999), researchers have since extended our understanding of how opinion
leaders influence other consumers via digital communication vehicles, such as blogs
(Uzunoglu and Kip 2014) and social media (Bergstrom and Belfrage 2018).
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
8
In line with Katz and Lazarsfeld’s (1955) enduring conceptualization of opinion
leadership as pertaining to a specific consumption domain (in our case, serial TV shows),
HBWs appear more likely to serve as domain-specific opinion leaders – advising others on
what shows to watch – than RBWs or NBWs. Thus, we propose that
H1: Heavy binge-watchers will score higher on measures of opinion leadership
regarding serial video programs than regular binge-watchers and non-binge-watchers.
One socially related variable with potential relevance to binge-watching is Fear of
Missing Out (FOMO), defined as a ‘feeling that missing a party, program, concert, class, or
some other event could result in being excluded from a cultural conversation or seminal
moment’ (Conlin et al. 2016: 151). FOMO is a widely recognized driver of behaviour among
young consumers and has been linked to high levels of social media use (e.g., Przybylski et
al. 2013), smartphone use (e.g., Elihai et al. 2016) or internet use (e.g., Wegmann et al.
2017). Hereby we propose that FOMO is also related to high levels of binge-watching.
Indeed, media narratives, research and anecdotal accounts suggest that people who would
rather not miss out on a TV series will binge simply to be privy to related conversations
within their networks (Conlin et al. 2016; Matrix 2014). As noted by Matrix (2014: 127), for
these viewers, ‘video-on-demand and binge-watching[…]are about enabling and enhancing
participation in social conversations and cliques.’ The fear of missing out on a particular
show should be especially more pronounced among HBWs, whose opinions are sought after
by others, and who have more to lose socially if their expertise wanes. For this reason, we
expect higher levels of FOMO among HBWs:
H2: Heavy binge-watchers will report higher levels of FOMO than regular
binge-watchers and non-binge-watchers.
‘Escape from reality,’ or diversion, is widely recognized as a gratification and
motivation for traditional TV viewing by U&G researchers (e.g., Katz et al. 1973; A.M.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
9
Rubin 1983), and has been shown to motivate bingeing in other domains of human behaviour
(e.g., Gold et al. 2003). Binge-watching fosters diversion and allows audiences to become
immersed in their favourite shows perhaps to an even higher degree than heavy viewing of
appointment-based television (Exelmans and Van den Bulck 2017). This happens because
binge-watching takes place at a chosen time when viewers anticipate no distractions, and
because it typically occurs on streaming platforms where the experience is not interrupted by
advertisers (Schweidel and Moe 2016; Jenner 2017). Qualitative research has documented
that binge-watchers report being immersed, or lost, in the shows (Perks 2014; Petersen 2016).
Being immersed in the fantasy and drama of a show can facilitate a high level of
engagement and the development of bonds with the show’s characters. Such parasocial
relationships, defined as ‘intimate, friendlike relationships that occur between a mediated
persona and a viewer’ (R.B. Rubin and McHugh 1987: 28), have been shown to resemble and
require some of the same relational maintenance as real-life relations. They are more likely to
occur, the more time the viewer spends with the characters; at the same time, they also
require the passing of time between encounters with the shows’ characters (off-screen) in
order to develop (Eyal and Dailey 2012).
There is some evidence of heightened formation of parasocial relationships through
binge-watching (Devasagayam 2014). A two-study investigation of personality antecedents
and psychological experiences related to binge-watching revealed that binge-watchers are
‘cognitively and emotionally engaged, during and after their experience,’ and form
‘meaningful bonds with [the] characters.’ (Tukachinsky and Eyal 2018: 16).
Assuming that the development of parasocial relationships requires more time spent
with the characters and more immersion in the show, it is plausible that HBWs would form
stronger parasocial relationships than RBWs and NBWs. On the other hand, HBWs finish a
given program’s season earlier, and move on to other shows faster, than RBWs and NBWs,
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
10
which allows for less of the off-screen time needed to form those relationships. In absence of
strong indicators for a directional hypothesis, we asked:
RQ2: Do heavy binge-watchers report higher levels of parasocial relationships than
regular binge-watchers and non-binge-watchers?
The effects of bingeing
Excessive engagement with media has long been associated with adverse effects,
from the early days of research on heavy television consumption (e.g., Williams 1986),
through the age of internet-exposure investigations (e.g., Sunstein 2001), to contemporary
examination of social media use (Wegmann et al. 2017) or the use of smartphones for social
reasons (Duke and Montag 2017). Among those negative effects are decreased work
productivity and poor academic achievement (Duke and Montag 2017) as well as sleep
disruption and fatigue (Do et al. 2013).
There is ongoing debate as to whether binge-watching has adverse effects or it is just
another technology-mediated leisure activity. Existing literature on bingeing has noted its
impact on both the professional and personal life of binge-watchers. For example, Chambliss
et al. (2017) reported that in a sample of college students, binge-watching, in addition to
other activities like social media use, was done in excess and to the detriment of obligations,
such as schoolwork.
Regarding effects on personal life, Exelmans and Van den Bulck (2017) found that
young adults who identified as binge-watchers had a 98% higher likelihood of having poor
sleep quality than those who did not identify as binge-watchers. Importantly, these effects
were more pronounced among those who binge-watched frequently (defined in this study as
HBWs).
Like gaming, heavy TV use or heavy internet use, high levels of binge-watching may
also result in negative outcomes. The cited studies, along with binge-watchers’ own narrative
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
11
reports of the experience (e.g., Steiner and Xu 2018) suggest that negative outcomes may be
more pronounced among those binge-watching more often. Thus, we posit:
H3: Heavy binge-watchers experience more negative consequences of binge-
watching on their professional life than regular binge-watchers.
H4: Heavy binge-watchers experience more negative consequences of binge-
watching on their personal life than regular binge-watchers.
Finally, although literature on heavy TV consumption has linked the behaviour to
sleep loss, heavy binge-watching may or may not have the same consequences. Indeed, the
experience of heavy binge-watching seems to be different from heavy viewing of traditional
television, even if only because binge-watchers can initiate it at any time, not necessarily
before going to bed. In the absence of a theoretical framework about the impact of binge-
watching levels on sleep loss, we asked:
RQ3: Do heavy binge-watchers report losing more sleep than regular binge-watchers
and non-binge-watchers?
Method
Hypotheses were tested via a Qualtrics-based survey of undergraduate students
(N=378; 78% females, 22% males, Mage=20.8) from a large US university. College students
are the demographic group most likely to engage in binge-watching (Devasagayam 2014).
Because this age group binge-watches in large numbers (rates among 18-22 year olds are
88% to 90%; Statista, 2017), choosing a sample of students was not only relevant to the
behaviour being studied, but it also provided enough participants in each group (HBWs,
RBWs, NBWs) to rigorously test the hypotheses. The survey took 15-20 minutes;
participants received extra credit equivalent to 0.5% of their grade.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
12
The IRB approved the protocol; those not able or willing to participate were assigned
an equivalent task. Sixty-three cases were dropped because those respondents did not
complete the survey, the response contained a significant number of outliers, the answer to
the one text question was unintelligible or the time taken to fill in the survey was less than the
time one would need to read the questions. As with any non-randomly selected, purposive
sample, results should not be generalized and should be interpreted with caution. What might
be generalized are the insights into processes and relationships between variables, rather than
the magnitude of the observed differences.
Measures
Unless otherwise noted, all items were measured on scales ranging from 1 (disagree)
to 4 (agree). To avoid respondent fatigue, either short versions of previously validated scales
or (when such scales were not available) single-item measures were used. Previous research
has shown no difference in the predictive validity of multiple-item and single-item measures
when constructs are clear and unambiguous (e.g., Bergkvist 2015; Bergkvist and Rossiter
2007) and even reported that single-item measures are superior in predictive validity (e.g.,
Sarstedt and Wilczynski 2009), recommending that single-item measures be used.
Binge-watching level
For all hypotheses, binge-watching levels were determined based on self-reported
binge-watching frequency. Participants were asked how many times a week they watched
three or more episodes of a show in one sitting. They were assigned to one of the three binge-
watching groups (NBW, RBW, HBW) based on these answers. Absent any theoretical
guidance on what may constitute regular versus heavy binge-watching levels, frequency
levels for each group were defined inductively based on previous research. Walton-Pattison
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
13
et al. (2018) offered perhaps the only report of binge-watching frequency in the literature
which uses a measure that captures the actual number of binge-watching sessions per given
time period. They found that people binge-watch an average of 1.42 times a week, with
SD=1.42, which indicates the majority of binge-watchers binge-watch up to 3 times a week
(Walton-Pattison et al. 2018). Consequently, respondents who indicated they binge-watched
up to three times per week were hereby designated as regular binge-watchers (RBWs).
Respondents who answered ‘0’ were designated as non-binge-watchers (NBWs), and those
who answered 4 or more times were categorized as heavy binge-watchers (HBWs).
Social engagement
Social engagement was measured in number of hours, in response to: ‘In an average
day, how many hours do you spend in various activities with friends or family?’ In absence
of random assignment, trait sociability was also measured to account for potential differences
among the three groups. The first trait sociability measure was, ‘I prefer being with others
rather than alone,’ (from 1=‘not at all like me’ to 4=‘just like me’). The second measure was
a two-item scale that captures the degree to which a person bases their self-concept on social
relationships. The items were ‘My close relationships are an important reflection of who I
am’ and ‘I think one of the most important parts of who I am can be captured by looking at
my close friends and understanding who they are’ (Cross et al. 2000; α=.75).
Opinion leadership
Opinion leadership regarding serial TV programs was assessed using a three-item
adaptation of Reynolds and Darden’s (1971) scale: ‘My friends often come to me for advice
about the best shows to watch,’ ‘My friends come to me more often than I go to them for
information about shows to watch’ and ‘I often influence the types of shows my friends
watch’ (α=.815). Self-report was validated as a measure of opinion leadership by Rogers
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
14
(1983) who concluded all four measures used in the literature are ‘about equally valid’ (p.
280; cf. Eighmey et al. 2005).
Fear of Missing Out
FOMO was measured following industry standards by two items (α=.73): ‘I feel
uneasy when I see that some of my friends or peers talk about shows I missed out on’ and ‘I
feel uneasy when I see that some of my friends or peers find out about a show before I do’
(adapted from JWTIntelligence 2012).
Parasocial relationships
A five-item scale adapted from Rubin and Perse (1987) was employed: ‘I sometimes
think of my favourite characters as real people,’ ‘If the actors or characters in my favourite
show are in another program, I would watch that program,’ ‘I miss my favourite characters
when the show is on break between seasons,’ ‘I wish the characters on my favourite show
were real so I could get to know them’ and ‘I wish I could enter the world of my favourite
show’ (α=.815).
Consequences of binge-watching
In absence of previously validated scales, negative consequences on professional life
were assessed using the following 3-item scale (α=.641): ‘My productivity has decreased as a
result of the time I spend watching TV shows,’ ‘Binge-watching has caused me minor
troubles at work,’ and ‘Binge-watching has caused me to be late or miss deadlines.’
Similarly, negative consequences on personal life were assessed using a 2-item scale (α=.87):
‘Binge-watching has caused me problems in my personal life’ and ‘Binge-watching has
caused minor problems in my romantic life.’
Loss of sleep
Sleep loss was assessed using the item, ‘I lose sleep because I watch longer than I
should have’ (never, rarely, sometimes, often).
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
15
Results
RQ1. RQ1 inquired about differences in social engagement (measured as time spent
socializing with others) among HBWs, RBWs and NBWs. A significant One-Way ANOVA
testing the effect of binge-watching levels on social engagement (F[2,313]=3.65, p=.027)
was followed by a post-hoc Tukey test, which revealed that HBWs (M=4.05, SD=1.67) spent
more time with friends and family compared to NBWs (M=3.16, SD=1.84), p=.03. RBWs
(M=3.53, SD=1.67) did not differ significantly from the other two groups, registering in-
between (Figure 1). Thus, HBWs were actually more socially engaged with friends and
family than NBWs. There were no differences in trait sociability among the three groups [for
single-item trait sociability, χ2(6, N=315)=8.56, p=.20, for collective self, F[2,313]=.64,
p=.53, MHBW=3.38 (SD=.64), MRBW =3.29 (SD=.59), MNBW =3.36 (SD=.70)], so the effect
isn’t attributable to differences in trait sociability.
_____________
Figure_1_about_here
_____________
Hypothesis 1 was supported. We predicted higher opinion leadership scores for
HBWs than for RBWs and NBWs. A One-Way ANOVA across binge-watching groups was
significant, F[2,313]=16.16, p < .001. A post-hoc Tukey test showed HBWs (M=2.69,
SD=.68) had higher levels of opinion leadership than both RBWs (M=2.30, SD=.80), p=.001,
and NBWs (M=1.80, SD=.73), p < .001. Meanwhile, RBWs had higher opinion leadership
scores than NBWs, p=.001 (Figure 2).
_____________
Figure_2_about_here
_____________
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
16
Hypothesis 2 was supported. H2 predicted that HBWs would report higher FOMO
scores than RBWs and NBWs. A one-way ANOVA for FOMO across binge-watching levels
was significant, F[2, 312]=3.662, p=.027. A post-hoc LSD test showed that HBWs (M=3.14,
SD=.70) reported higher FOMO scores than RBWs (M=2.86, SD=.78), p=.013 and NBWs
(M=2.79, SD=.77), p=.027, though NBWs did not significantly differ from RBWs (p=.58;
Figure 3).
_____________
Figure_3_about_here
_____________
RQ2. RQ2 inquired about differences in parasocial relationship scores among HBWs,
RBWs and NBWs. A One-Way ANOVA showed the effect of binge-watching level on
parasocial relationships scores was significant, F[2,313]=9.147, p < .001. A post-hoc Games-
Howell test showed that the HBWs (M=3.02, SD=.55) had higher parasocial relationships
scores than RBWs (M=2.75, SD=.73), p=.006. and NBWs (M=2.41, SD=.71), p=.001. RBWs
reported higher scores than NBWs, p=.024 (Figure 4).
_____________
Figure_4_about_here
_____________
Hypothesis 3 was supported. H3 predicted that HBWs would experience more
negative consequences of binge-watching in their professional life than RBWs. An
independent samples t-test t[2,276]=2.816, p < .005, revealed that HBWs (M=1.96, SD=.63)
reported that binge-watching had a more negative impact on their professional life than did
RBWs (M=1.71, SD=.60).
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
17
Hypothesis 4 was not supported. H4 predicted that HBWs would experience more
negative consequences of binge-watching in their personal life than RBWs. An independent
samples t-test indicated no significant differences, t[2,276]=.471, p=.638.
Research Question 3. A Chi-square test of independence comparing the frequency of
losing sleep among the three binge-watching levels showed that 30.6% of HBWs said they
often lost sleep because of watching too many episodes, as compared to only 17.1% of RBWs
and 5.3% of NBWs, a significant difference χ2(6, N=316)=37.90, p < .001 (Figure 6).
_____________
Figure_5_about_here
_____________
Discussion
The present study extends theoretical knowledge about the widespread phenomenon
of binge-watching serial video content. The emphasis was on understanding the association
between socially related variables and engagement in binge-watching among three groups of
viewers of serial content: HBWs, RBWs and NBWs. There were several noteworthy findings.
First, the data challenged the intuitive expectation that the time-demanding activity of
heavy binge-watching would come at the cost of social engagement. There has been an
enduring notion in media research, and particularly in early studies on television
consumption, that high engagement with media can serve as a surrogate for social interaction
(Finn and Gorr 1988; see Rubin et al. 1985). With mixed support, those studies have linked
heavy use of television with social reclusion and loneliness. That pattern was not observed
among HBWs in our sample. In fact, HBWs reported spending more time with friends and
family than did NBWs (on average, 50 minutes more per day).
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
18
This finding underscores the need for future research to clarify phenomenological
differences between heavy TV viewing and heavy binge-watching, which at least in terms of
impact on overall social engagement appear to be different experiences. Conceptually though,
there is overlap, as both notions describe high amounts of serialized television consumption
(with the difference that heavy binge-watching refers to consuming several episodes of the
same show, four or more times per week). Future research should attempt to clarify
similarities between that practice and the experience of consuming several different shows of
the same genre (e.g., telenovelas) in one afternoon. To many, the latter would also constitute
bingeing. One can of course speculate that viewing multiple episodes of the same show
typically involves access to a streaming service, which arguably leads to a consumption
experience whereby variables like narrative transportation and flow are brought to the fore –
particularly since streaming mostly occurs on devices that can cut off the external
environment and isolate outside noise, further facilitating immersion (e.g., an tablet with
noise-cancelling headphones). By contrast, it is possible that heavy viewing occurs more
often on a traditional TV set, and is often appointment-based, potentially being more prone to
disruptions from daily life. But do the two experiences differ significantly? Until evidence
has accumulated, the aforementioned possibilities remain purely speculative. Yet, is likely
that some of the underlying motivations, consequences or correlates of the two behaviours
might be the same. Future research could reveal what findings from traditional research on
heavy TV consumption generalize to heavy binge-watching.
The aforementioned relationship between binge-watching frequency and social
engagement is part of a broader pattern of associations observed in the data, which suggests
that heavy binge-watching could be at least in part socially motivated. For example, we
reasoned that the knowledge accrued from heavy consumption of serialized video content
would develop and enhance the social status of HBWs as informal ‘experts’ on what shows to
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
19
watch. As hypothesized, HBWs were opinion leaders in the TV consumption domain, more
than RBWs and NBWs. We also offered FOMO as a potential socially related motivator for
heavy binge-watching. We reasoned that the losses incurred from missing out on certain
shows would be much costlier for HBWs than for RBWs and NBWs, because as opinion
leaders, HBWs are expected to be ‘in the know.’ As predicted, HBWs reported experiencing
significantly higher FOMO than RBWs and NBWs.
Of course, data from cross-sectional surveys like this are correlational; they only
indicate that the socially related variables, OL and FOMO, are associated with heavy binge-
watching, not that they cause heavy binge-watching. Researchers should test for causality in
future studies, based on the strong correlational evidence reported here. Nevertheless, Self-
Determination Theory (SDT, Ryan and Deci 2000) offers a psychological framework through
which these data may be interpreted as indicating that heavy binge-watching is indeed
socially motivated.
According to SDT, the gratifications obtained by HBWs from having their opinions
sought by others could become a powerful intrinsic motivator which drives HBWs to further
engage in heavy binge-watching. Self-Determination Theory suggests that intrinsic
motivation is a strong motivational force fuelled by three basic needs: relatedness,
competence and autonomy (Ryan and Deci 2000). Relatedness is one’s belief that an action
better connects them to other people. Heavy binge-watching enhanced relatedness in two
ways. First, HBWs reported higher opinion-leader scores than did RBWs; the fact that other
people come to them for advice on which programs to watch enhances HBWs’ social
relatedness. Second, HBWs reported greater FOMO than RBWs; in the language of SDT,
HBWs may be fearful of experiencing reduced relatedness if they miss out on a popular
show. Viewed through the SDT framework, the data indicate that heavy binge-watching may
be motivated, at least in part, by the need for social relatedness.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
20
An individual’s need for competence is enhanced if a behaviour results in positive
feedback, and that feedback sustains the intrinsic motivation to repeat the behaviour over
time (Deci and Ryan 2010). At least one item used to measure opinion leadership, ‘I often
influence the types of shows my friends watch,’ on which HBWs scored higher than RBWs,
is an expression of the competence-indicative feedback Deci and Ryan (2010) described, and
may be a capability HBWs fear losing if they miss out on the latest, intriguing serial shows.
In light of this SDT analysis, not only are the findings consistent with the idea that
heavy binge-watching could be motivated by the intrinsic needs for social relatedness and
social competence, but the results are also indicative of just how powerful these socially
driven motivations to binge-watch heavily could actually be.
The present findings also help situate the construct FOMO within the broader field of
media psychology. FOMO is a relatively new psychological construct which has been found
to be a reliable driver of engagement with new modes of media, including social media and
smartphone use (Conlin et al. 2016; Elhai et al. 2016). Though many authors have speculated
about a possible relationship between binge-watching and FOMO, to the best of our
knowledge, only one study has investigated the connection empirically. Conlin et al. (2016)
found that FOMO was positively related to one particular type of binge-watching: binge-
watching to catch up with a show, followed by watching new episodes as they are released.
The present study reinforces the connection between binge-watching and FOMO at the
conceptual level and provides additional empirical evidence to justify a much-needed test of
causality in future investigations.
The study also contributes to an emerging stream of literature which extends the
applicability of the U&G perspective to new forms of media consumption, by suggesting the
intriguing possibility that different types of gratifications may fuel binge-watching for HBWs
than for RBWs. Indeed, are the social relatedness gratifications obtained by HBWs through
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
21
their status as opinion leaders also motivating other binge-watchers, or are RBWs seeking
and obtaining a different set of gratifications?
The findings have direct implications for promoting new serialized shows through
electronic word of mouth (eWOM). As opinion leaders in this domain, HBWs are the hubs
for buzz and chatter about new shows to watch. Marketers could tap this potential by
preferentially directing early trailers and promos for news shows, via programmatic targeting,
to HBWs, encouraging them to engage with the shows and to share their advanced
knowledge with others. The authors are aware of only one instance when the industry has
utilized this strategy: when MTV adopted the binge model for a new reality series, the
network’s plan was to ‘engage and add value for teen influencers who would then
recommend the show to friends’ (Matrix 2014: 128). Such promotional tactics serve both the
creators of the shows (by promoting the shows in a cost-effective and more trusted manner
than traditional advertising, namely eWOM) and the HBWs themselves (by reinforcing their
status as informed experts).
By strengthening the plausibility of the claim that contemporary audiences might
consume mass quantities of serialized TV content at least partly for social reasons, the
present study reinforces a view of binge-watching as a normal mode of TV consumption
which can help attenuate the ‘rhetoric of moral media panic’ (Matrix 2014: 124), which has
sometimes framed binge-watching as an excessive and possibly pathological behaviour (cf.
Conlin et al. 2016). Yet, attenuating that rhetoric does not mean denying its empirical basis or
claiming that heavy binge-watching should not be seen as a matter of concern. The fact, that
in this study reduced productivity and loss of sleep were only observed among HBWs, does
not preclude the possibility that a range of other negative effects might exist. In survey
research one can only find what one measures for, and we inquired about few possible
negative effects here. Extant literature has documented a much broader range of negative
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
22
correlates or consequences of binge-watching, including high levels of stress, anxiety, and
depression (Sung et al. 2015), gambling-like dependency (Tukachinsky and Eyal 2018),
checking Internet-enabled devices constantly (Przybylski et al 2013), sleep disruption, fatigue
and poor sleep quality (Do et al. 2013; Exelmans and Van den Bulck 2017), etc. . To what an
extent these, and other negative consequences can be observed among RBWs and HBWs is
yet to be explored.
Indeed, much terrain remains to be charted towards understanding binge-watching as
an established form of consuming serial video content. With McCombs’ (1972) displacement
theory in mind, researchers could attempt to investigate how audiences negotiate the
integration of binge-watching into their daily routines, and how its perceived benefits and
trade-offs might vary depending on binge-watching level. A list of potential topics for future
inquiry could also include understanding how the binge-watching experience is shaped by the
absence or presence of others (solitary viewing, versus social viewing in the physical
presence of others, versus digital social viewing); by audience intentionality and control
(planned sessions versus extended spontaneous binges); by the genre, narrative quality and
narrative structure of shows (considering elements such as episode length, span of narrative
arch, comedy versus drama, high vs. average ratings); by the features of the shows’
characters (morality, likeability, congruity with audience self-construal) or engagement with
the shows’ characters (parasocial relationships); by content availability (number of complete
seasons available, cost, platform, content release model, duration of availability for each
season) and by a plethora of other variables. Decades of research in traditional television
studies could provide solid guidance as the new investigations expand into adjacent
theoretical domains.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
23
References
Bernardin, Marc (2018), ‘How binge-watching has changed TV writing’, Hollywood
Reporter, 1 June, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/has-binge-watching-
changed-tv-writing-1118988.
Bergkvist, Lars (2015), ‘Appropriate use of single-item measures is here to stay’, Marketing
Letters, 26:3, pp. 245–255.
Bergkvist, Lars and Rossiter, John R. (2007), ‘The predictive validity of multiple-item versus
single-item measures of the same constructs’, Journal of Marketing Research, 44:2,
pp. 175–184.
Bergstrom, Annika and Belfrage, Maria Jervelycke (2018), ‘News in social media Incidental
consumption and the role of opinion leaders’, Digital Journalism, 6:5, pp. 583–598.
Chambliss, Catherine, Gartenberg, Carly, Honrychs, Dayna, Elko, MaryAnn, March, Ryan,
McGill, Sydney, Watters, Meredith, Bayer, Krystina, Boylan, Claire, Hanson, Alexa,
Hawley Brittany, Ventura, Danny and Boss, Richard (2017), ‘Distracted by binge-
watching: Sources of academic and social disruption in students’, ARC Journal of
Pediatrics, 3:1, pp. 14–17.
Conlin, Lindsey (2015), ‘There goes the weekend: Understanding television binge-watching’,
Ph.D. dissertation, Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama.
Conlin, Lindsey, Billings, Andrew C. and Averset, Lauren (2016), ‘Time-shifting vs.
appointment viewing: The role of fear of missing out within TV consumption
behaviours’, Communication & Society, 29:4, pp. 151–164.
Cross, Susan E., Bacon, Pamela L. and Morris, Michael L. (2000), ‘The relational-
interdependent self-construal and relationships’, Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 78:4, pp. 791–808.
de Feijter, Dimph, Khan, Vassilis-Javed and van Gisbergen, Marnix (2016), ‘Confessions of
a “guilty” couch potato understanding and using context to optimize binge-watching
behaviour.’, in TVX ‘16. Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on
Interactive Experiences for TV and Online Video, Chicago, Illinois, 22–24 June, New
York: ACM, pp. 59–67.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
24
Deci, Edward L and Ryan, Richard M. (1991), ‘A motivational approach to self: Integration
in personality’, in R.A. Dienstbier (ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 1990,
vol. 38, Lincoln, Nebraska, 30 August, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, pp.
237–288.
Deci, Edward L. and Ryan, Richard M. (2010), ‘Intrinsic motivation’, in I. B. Weiner and W.
E. Craighead (eds), The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology, 4th ed., Hoboken:
Wiley, pp. 868.
Deloitte (2015), Digital democracy survey, 9th ed.,
https://www2.deloitte.com/gh/en/pages/technology-media-and-
telecommunications/articles/gx-digital-democracy-survey-generational-media-
consumption-trends.html.
Dennis, Everette E. Martin, Justin D. and Hassan, Fouad (2018), Media use in the Middle
East, 2018, Education City: Northwestern University in Qatar,
http://www.mideastmedia.org/survey/2018/.
Devasagayam, Raj (2014), ‘Media bingeing: A qualitative study of psychological influences’,
in D. Delong, D. Edminston and R. Hightower, Jr. (eds.), Once Retro Now Novel
Again. Proceedings of Marketing Management Associations Spring Conference,
Chicago, IL, 26–28 March, Chicago: MMA, pp. 40–44.
Do, Young Kyung, Shin, Eunhae, Bautista, Mary Ann and Foo, Kelvin (2013), ‘The
associations between self-reported sleep duration and adolescent health outcomes:
What is the role of time spent on Internet use?’, Sleep Medicine, 14:2, pp. 195–200.
Duke, Éilish and Montag, Christian (2017), ‘Smartphone addiction, daily interruptions and
self-reported productivity’, Addictive Behaviors Reports, 6, pp. 90–95.
Eighmey, John, Sar, Sela and Anghelcev, George (2006), ‘Brand zealotry: What is it, and
who are the zealots?’, in P. Rose (ed.), Proceedings of the 2006 Conference of the
American Academy of Advertising, Reno, Nevada, January, Austin: American
Academy of Advertising, pp. 103.
Elhai, Jon D., Levine, Jason C., Dvorak, Robert D. and Hall, Brian J. (2016), ‘Fear of missing
out, need for touch, anxiety and depression are related to problematic smartphone
use’, Computers in Human Behavior, 63, pp. 509–516.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
25
Exelmans, Liese and Van den Bulck, Jan (2017), ‘Binge viewing, sleep, and the role of pre-
sleep arousal’, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 13:8, pp. 1001–1008.
Eyal, Keren and Dailey, René M. (2012), ‘Examining relational maintenance in parasocial
relationships’, Mass Communication & Society, 15, pp. 758–781.
Finn, Seth and Gorr, Mary Beth (1988). ‘Social isolation and social support as correlates of
television viewing motivations’, Communication Research, 15:2, pp. 135–158.
Flayelle, Maèva, Maurage, Pierre, Vögele, Claus and Billieux, Joël (2018), ‘Time for a plot
twist: Beyond confirmatory approaches to binge-watching research’, Psychology of
Popular Media Culture, 8:3, pp. 308–318.
Gold, Mark S., Frost-Pineda, Kimberly and Jacobs, William S. (2003), ‘Overeating, binge
eating, and eating disorders as addictions’, Psychiatric Annals, 33:2, pp. 117–122.
Jenner, Mareike (2017), ‘Binge-watching: Video-on-demand, quality TV and mainstreaming
fandom’. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 20:3, pp. 304–320.
Jurgensen, John (2012), ‘Binge viewing: TV's lost weekends.’, The Wall Street Journal, 13
July,
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303740704577521300806686174.ht
ml.
JWTIntelligence (2012), ‘FOMO: The fear Of missing out’,
https://www.jwtintelligence.com/wp-
content/themes/jwtintelligence/custom/jwtipubsform.html.
Katz, Elihu, Haas, Hadassah and Gurevitch, Michael (1973), ‘On the use of the mass media
for important things’, American Sociological Review, 38, pp. 164–181.
Katz, Elihu and Lazarsfeld, Paul Félix (1955), Personal Influence: The Part Played by
People in the Flow of Mass Communications. Glencoe: The Fress Press.
Kubey, Robert W. (1996), ‘Television dependence, diagnosis, and prevention with
commentary on video games, pornography, and media education’, in T. M. Macbeth
(ed.), Tuning in to Young Viewers: Social Science Perspectives on Television,
Thousand Oaks: SAGE, pp. 221–260.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
26
Lepper, Mark R. and Greene, David (1975), ‘Turning play into work: Effects of adult
surveillance and extrinsic rewards on children's intrinsic motivation’, Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 31:3, pp. 479–486.
Lotz, Amanda D. (2014), The Television Will Be Revolutionized, 2nd ed., New York: NYU
Press.
Matrix, Sidneyeve (2014), ‘The Netflix effect: Teens, binge watching, and on-demand digital
media trends’, Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 6:1, pp. 119–138.
McCombs, Maxwell (1972), ‘Mass media in the marketplace’, Journalism Monographs, 24,
pp. 1–102.
McNamara, Mary (2012), ‘Critic’s notebook: The side effects of binge television’, LA Times,
15 January, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2012-jan-15-la-ca-netflix-
essay-20120115-story.html.
Merikivi, Jani, Salovaara, Antti, Mäntymäki, Matti and Zhang, Lilong (2018), ‘On the way to
understanding binge watching behaviour: The over-estimated role of involvement’,
Electronic Market, 28:1, pp. 111–122.
Netflix (2013), ‘Netflix declares binge watching is the new normal’, 13 December,
https://media.netflix.com/en/press-releases/netflix-declares-binge-watching-is-the-
new-normal-migration-1.
Netflix (2017), ‘When bingeing goes public, private behaviours are exposed and social norms
are shelved’, 14 November, https://media.netflix.com/en/press-releases/when-
bingeing-goes-public-private-behaviors-are-exposed-and-social-norms-are-shelved.
Panda, Swati and Pandey, Satyendra C. (2017), ‘Binge watching and college students:
Motivations and outcomes’, Young Consumers, 18:4, pp. 425–438.
Perks, Lisa Glebatis (2014), Media Marathoning: Immersions in Morality, Lanham:
Lexington Books.
Petersen, Ted G. (2016), ‘To binge or not to binge: A qualitative analysis of college students’
binge watching habits’, Florida Communication Journal, 44:1, pp. 77–88.
Pierce-Grove, Ri (2017), ‘Just one more: How journalists frame binge watching’, First
Monday, 22:1.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
27
Pittman, Matthew and Sheehan, Kim (2015), ‘Sprinting a media marathon: Uses and
gratifications of binge-watching television through Netflix’, First Monday, 20:10.
Przybylski, Andrew K., Murayama, Kou, DeHaan, Cody R. and Gladwell, Valerie (2013),
‘Motivational, emotional, and behavioural correlates of fear of missing out’,
Computers in Human Behavior, 29:4, pp. 1841–1848.
Radošinská, Jana (2017), ‘New trends in production and distribution of episodic television
drama: Brand Marvel-Netflix in the post-television era’, Communication Today, 8:1,
pp. 4–28.
Ramayan, Srikumar, Estella, Angello Louisse Munsayac and Abu Bakar, Intan Abida (2018),
‘The effects of binge watching on interpersonal communication among Department of
Communication and Liberal Arts (DCLA) students’, Ideology, 3:3, pp. 127–143.
Reynolds, Fred D. and Darden, William R. (1971), ‘Mutually adaptive effects of
interpersonal communication’, Journal of Marketing Research, 8:4, pp. 449–454.
Rogers, Everett M. (1983), Diffusion of Innovations, 3rd ed., New York: The Free Press.
Rubin, Alan M. (1983), ‘Television uses and gratifications: The interactions of viewing
patterns and motivations’, Journal of Broadcasting, 27:1, pp. 37–51.
Rubin, Alan M. (2009), ‘Uses and gratifications’, in R. L. Nabi and M. B. Oliver (eds), The
SAGE Handbook of Media Processes and Effects, Thousand Oaks: SAGE, pp. 147–
159.
Rubin, Alan M., Perse, Elizabeth M. and Powell, Robert A. (1985), ‘Loneliness, parasocial
interaction, and local television news viewing’, Human Communication Research,
12:2, pp. 155–180.
Rubin, Alan M. and Perse, Elizabeth M. (1987), ‘Audience activity and soap opera
involvement: A uses and effects investigation’, Human Communication Research,
14:2, pp. 246–268.
Rubin, Rebecca B. and McHugh, Michael P. (1987), ‘Development of parasocial interaction
relationships’, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 31:3, pp. 279–292.
Ruggiero, Thomas E. (2000), ‘Uses and gratifications theory in the 21st century’, Mass
Communication & Society, 3, pp. 3–37.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
28
Ryan, Richard M. and Deci, Edward L. (2000), ‘Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic
definitions and new directions’, Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25:1, pp. 54–
67.
Sabin, Sam (2018), ‘Most young adults have an appetite for binge-watching shows’, Morning
Consult, 16 November, https://morningconsult.com/2018/11/06/most-young-adults-
have-an-appetite-for-binge-watching-shows/.
Sarstedt, Marko and Wilczynski, Petra (2009), ‘More for less? A comparison of single-item
and multi-item measures’, Die Betriebswirtschaft, 69:2, pp. 211–227.
Schweidel, David A. and Moe, Wendy W. (2016), ‘Binge watching and advertising’, Journal
of Marketing, 80:5, pp. 1–19.
Statista (2017), ‘Binge watching in the U.S.’, Statista, March,
https://www.statista.com/statistics/431166/bingewatching-tv-shows-reach-by-age-us/.
Steiner, Emil (2017), ‘Binge-watching in practice: The rituals, motives, and feelings of
streaming video viewers’, in M. Wiatrowski and C. Barker (eds), A Netflix Reader:
Critical Essays on Streaming Media, Digital Delivery, and Instant Access,
McFarland: Jefferson, pp. 141–161.
Steiner, Emil and Xu, Kun (2018), ‘Binge-watching motivates change: Uses and
gratifications of streaming video viewers challenge traditional TV research’,
Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies,
20:10, pp. 1–20.
Sunstein, Cass R. (2001), Republic 2.0, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
TiVo (2015), ‘Original streamed series top binge viewing survey for first time’, 4rfv, 30 June,
https://www.4rfv.com/0NQZVITMU8CC/original-streamed-series-top-binge-
viewing-survey-for-first-time.htm.
Thompson, Ethan and Mittell, Jason (2013), How to Watch Television, New York: NYU
Press.
Trouleau, William, Ashkan, Azin, Ding, Weicong and Eriksson, Brian (2016), ‘Just one
more: Modeling binge watching behaviour’, in KDD ‘16. Proceedings of the 22nd
ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining,
San Francisco, CA, 22–27 August, New York: ACM, pp. 1214–1224.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
29
Tukachinsky, Riva and Eyal, Keren (2018), ‘The psychology of marathon television viewing:
Antecedents and viewer involvement’, Mass Communication and Society, 00, pp. 1–
21.
Uzunoglu, Ebru and Kip, Sema Misci (2014), ‘Brand communication through digital
influencers: Leveraging blogger engagement’, International Journal of Information
Management, 34:5, pp. 592–602.
Valente, Thomas W. and Davis, Rebecca L. (1999), ‘Accelerating the diffusion of
innovations using opinion leaders’, The ANNALS of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science, 566:1, pp. 55–67.
Walton-Pattison, Emily, Dombrowski, Stephan U. and Presseau, Justin (2018), ‘“Just one
more episode”: Frequency and theoretical correlates of television binge watching’,
Journal of Health Psychology, 23:1, pp. 17–24.
Wegmann, Elisa, Oberst, Ursula, Stodt, Benjamin and Brand, Matthias (2017), ‘Online-
specific fear of missing out and Internet-use expectancies contribute to symptoms of
Internet-communication disorder’, Addictive Behaviors Reports, 5, pp. 33–42.
Wechsler, Henry, Davenport, Andrea, Dowdall, George, Moeykens, Barbara and Castillo,
Sonia (1994), ‘Health and behavioural consequences of binge drinking in college: A
national survey of students at 140 campuses’, Jama, 272:21, pp. 1672–1677.
Williams, Tannis MacBeth (1986), The Impact of Television: A Natural Experiment in Three
Communities, Orlando: Academic Press.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
30
Figures
Figure 1. Mean plots of daily hours spent with friends and family by binge-watching level.
Figure 2. Mean plots of opinion leadership by binge-watching level.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
31
Figure 3. Mean plots of FOMO scores by binge-watching level.
Figure 4. Mean plots of the level of parasocial interaction by binge-watching level.
For Personal Use Only
This is the pre-acceptance version of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Journal of
Digital Media & Policy, a unit of Intellect/Ingenta publishing, available at https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00026_1. Please use the following
citation: Anghelcev, George; Sar, Sela; Martin, Justin; Moultrie, Jas L. (2020). Is heavy binge-watching a socially driven behaviour? Exploring
differences between heavy, regular and non-binge-watchers. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, DOI: 10.1386/jdmp_00026_1
32
Figure 5. Loss of sleep by binge-watching level.
For Personal Use Only
... The use of substances or excessive forms of behavior to regulate affective states is characteristic of all addictions (Nikmanesh et al., 2014;Mascia et al., 2020). Research has shown that in the case of behavioral addictions, the most common symptoms of abstinence are emotional tension, mood changes, the need for stimulation and craving, and Fear of missing out (FOMO) Anghelcev et al., 2020;Fernandez et al., 2020). Emotional reactions are also associated with distress when binge-watching is blocked. ...
... Additionally, research has shown that the anxiety-depressive syndrome is associated with a greater frequency of loss of control over binge-watching behaviors and neglect of duties. At this point, it is worth mentioning that problems with selfcontrol and neglect of duties are characteristic of a low level of conscientiousness, which in turn is characteristic of individuals exhibiting excessive binge-watching behavior (Govaert, 2014;Chambliss et al., 2017;Tóth-Király et al., 2017;Anghelcev et al., 2020). An individual escapes from negative emotional states by watching TV series. ...
... The anxiety-depressive syndrome is a strong predictor of problematic binge-watching symptoms, such as negative health consequences, preoccupation, and negative social consequences. So far, not many studies have been carried out on the impact of binge-watching on the health of individuals, but few studies in the literature have shown that binge-watching is associated with worse sleep quality and unhealthy, and irregular diet (Exelmans and Van den Bulck, 2017;Vaterlaus et al., 2019;Anghelcev et al., 2020;Dixit et al., 2020). On the other hand, research indicates that individuals prefer to binge-watch alone so the quantity of time they spend watching TV series may affect their interpersonal relationships by further reducing the number of contacts with other people (Wheeler, 2015;Sun and Chang, 2021). ...
Article
In recent years, binge-watching becomes a highly popular way of spending free time. Even though binge-watching usually is related to entertainment, there are concerns about some negative and unhealthy outcomes of excessive form of this behavior. The study examined the predictive value of anxiety-depressive syndrome in explaining the symptoms of problematic binge-watching and the tendency to adopt a specific motivation to watch series. Research group consists of 645 Polish young adults. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Depression Measurement Questionnaire, Viewing Motivation Scale, and Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-Watching were used in this study. The results of the path analysis show that anxiety-depressive syndrome and motivation to watch TV series are the significant factors in the manifestation of all symptoms of problematic binge-watching. Moreover, there is a significant relation between anxiety-depressive syndrome and motivation to watch TV series, which especially concerns escape motivation and motivation to deal with loneliness. Furthermore, motivation to deal with loneliness, escape motivation, and motivation to spend free time have mediating effect on the relationship between anxiety-depressive syndrome and problematic binge-watching. Results of this research show that there could be not only normative binge-watching behavior but also unhealthy and problematic form of this behavior.
... Research shows that heavy binge-watchers engage in this activity to learn new information and to satisfy their cognitive needs (4,40). Some researchers have also found that binge-watchers tend to engage in highly immersive and complex narratives, as these provide them with a sense of gratification (40,(76)(77)(78)(79). Furthermore, some researchers have reported that heavy binge-watching is also related to the phenomenon known as "fear of missing out" (known colloquially as "FOMO") (77,80). Conlin et al. (77) and Anghelcev et al. (80) found that people have a tendency to binge-watch more due to a perceived need to collect information that then helps them to participate in social discourse. ...
... Conlin et al. (77) and Anghelcev et al. (80) found that people have a tendency to binge-watch more due to a perceived need to collect information that then helps them to participate in social discourse. Furthermore, Anghelcev et al. (80) outline the fact that heavy binge-watchers seek information because others within their social networks often seek their opinions on related topics. This is similar to the assumption made by Shim and Kim (40) who stated that heavy binge-watchers have a high need for cognitive fulfilment and, as such, are more prone to exploring and forming an increased fascination with a TV show or specific fictional character. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, the question about the potentially problematic characteristics of binge-watching behaviours has been raised in the contemporary literature. Binge-watching is a highly popular behaviour that involves watching multiple episodes of TV series in one sitting. Studies show that binge-watching can be both an entertaining, but also a potentially problematic, behaviour. Therefore, this research aimed to answer the question about how impulsivity, difficulties in emotional regulation, and one's motivations around why they want to watch a TV series predict problematic binge-watching among a group of Polish young adults. The research group consisted of 645 participants. The following tools were then used to measure the study variables: the Impulsive Behaviour Scale, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, the Viewing Motivation Scale, and the Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-watching. Furthermore, a regression analysis was performed on the responses to each measure in order to answer our research questions. Our results show that a lack of premeditation, impulse control difficulties, and having an escapist motivation are all significant predictors of problematic binge-watching behaviours. Furthermore, one's motivations around dealing with loneliness, their motivations around how to best spend their free time, as well as their informative and entertaining motivations were also found to be significant predictors of problematic binge-watching behaviours.
... A new trend which occurred among media consumers is of binge watching. The term "binge" is defined as the excess or over consumption of media content (Anghelcev, 2021). The definition of binge watching is still under process, it is described as the attempt to consume number of episodes of a tv program in one sitting, usually by the means of DVDs or streaming platforms. ...
Article
Binge-watching is a new concept which saw its rise from 2013 onwards, it became one of the significant ways especially for youth to spend free time. It has become one of the popular ways especially for youth to spend free time. Present study attempts to explore the motivations behind binge-watching among youth and the gratification achieve by that. Uses and Gratification Theory, is used to provide theoretical framework. The current theory explains that people use media to satisfy their desires. Bing watching has many effects, the main argument refers to swift gratification and desires related to entertainment, engagement, and relaxation. Survey method was used with purposive sampling technique. Total 110 respondents filled the survey. Findings illustrates that motivation behind binge-watching is the need of learning. Youth indulge in this behavior to feel connected and to fulfil curiosity, moreover youth find binge-watching a good viewing pattern as it relieves their stress. According to the findings binge-watching have positive effects. Keywords: Binge-Watching, Stress, Curiosity, Traditional media, Netflix.
... The present findings fully support the latter, as enrichment and social motivations for TV series watching conferred the two subsequent largest contributions in modeling non-harmful involvement in binge-watching. Not only consistent with previous evidence attesting to the significant role of self-development (or thought-provoking) and social communication incentives in binge-watching (Anghelcev et al., 2022;Mikos, 2016;Shim and Kim, 2018), these results are also mainly in line with the widely held notion that media use is typically driven by one's search for deeper insight in life, and derived benefits in terms of socialization (Chandler and Munday, 2011;Oliver and Raney, 2011;Ruggiero, 2000). By allowing viewers to indulge in the concurrent gratification experiences inherent in TV series watching (i.e., experiencing pleasure upon being immersed in the fictional world of a TV show, while developing critical thinking and social conversations) to a greater extent, but not at the expense of other areas of life, nonharmful binge-watching engagement appears to be driven by positive reinforcement mechanisms, thus bringing this viewing pattern closer into line with the DMP's understanding of a Harmonious level of Passion for TV series watching. ...
Article
Full-text available
As on-demand streaming technology rapidly expanded, binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of TV series back-to-back) has become a widespread activity, and substantial research has been conducted to explore its potential harmfulness. There is, however, a need for differentiating non-harmful and problematic binge-watching. This is the first study using a machine learning analytical strategy to further investigate the distinct psychological predictors of these two binge-watching patterns. A total of 4275 TV series viewers completed an online survey assessing sociodemographic variables, binge-watching engagement, and relevant predictor variables (i.e., viewing motivations, impulsivity facets, and affect). In one set of analyses, we modeled intensity of nonharmful involvement in binge-watching as the dependent variable, while in a following set of analyses, we modeled intensity of problematic involvement in binge-watching as the dependent variable. Emotional enhancement motivation, followed by enrichment and social motivations, were the most important variables in modeling non-harmful involvement. Coping/escapism motivation, followed by urgency and lack of perseverance (two impulsivity traits), were found as the most important predictors of problematic involvement. These findings indicate that non-harmful involvement is characterized by positive reinforcement triggered by TV series watching, while problematic involvement is linked to negative reinforcement motives and impulsivity traits.
... Adolescents with StrD showed a moderate depressive symptom expression (Richardson et al., 2010), more symptoms of anxiety and insomnia and reported more loneliness and worse school performance compared to those without StrD. This is line with studies with (problematic) binge watchers (Anghelcev, Sar, Martin, & Moultrie, 2020;Flayelle et al., 2020;Raza et al., 2021;Starosta & Izydorczyk, 2020;Steins-Loeber, Reiter, Averbeck, Harbarth, & Brand, 2020) and studies with adolescents with problematic social media and Internet use (Barry, Sidoti, Briggs, Reiter, & Lindsey, 2017;Marttila, Koivula, & Räsänen, 2021;Pontes et al., 2021;Tsitsika et al., 2014) as well as higher screen times (Adelantado-Renau et al., 2019;Hale & Guan, 2015;Shenoi et al., 2022;Tremblay et al., 2011). Comparable results, although to a smaller extend, were found for problematic streamers according to the LPA results. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims Internet video streaming (VS) has become a popular leisure activity among the majority of adolescents, especially under the COVID-19 pandemic. Research on binge watching patterns in adults suggests an addictive potential of VS. To date, no unified conceptualization on problematic VS and no standardized assessment tools for adolescents exist even though they might be especially vulnerable. Methods STREDIS-A is based on the ICD-11 criteria of gaming disorder. It was validated in a representative sample of 959 dyads of 10- to 17-year old adolescents with frequent VS and a respective parent using standardized questionnaires on Internet addiction, depressive and anxiety symptoms, insomnia, loneliness, and academic performance in an online survey. Item structure was investigated by factorial analyses. Cutoffs were estimated and latent profile analysis was performed. Results The two-factorial structure of STREDIS-A describes cognitive-behavioral symptoms and negative consequences of VS. Internal consistency and criterion validity were good to excellent. It could excellently discriminate between affected and non-affected adolescents. Discussion and conclusions The present study makes a significant contribution to the conceptualization of a new phenomenon. It provides the very first tool to assess streaming disorder in adolescents for clinical and research settings. Clinical validation is highly warranted.
Article
Full-text available
El binge-watching (los atracones visuales): explorando la fenomenología subjetiva en la experiencia de hacer maratones de series Este estudio examinó los constructos sicológicos relacionados con la práctica conocida como ""hacer maratones" televisivos o darse un "atracón visual" de series (binge-watching, en inglés). Los resultados resaltan la importancia de la transportación narrativa, tanto en la formación de las percepciones de los espectadores que hacen un maratón, como en el comportamiento de éstos cuando realizan dicha actividad. La transportación narrativa tuvo una relación positiva con la frecuencia de dichos atracones y medió en el impacto tanto de la duración de cada sesión en el desarrollo de interacciones parasociales (mediación total), como en el disfrute de éstos (mediación parcial). Se descubrió que la capacidad de experimentar el flujo permite predecir la duración de cada sesión de atracones. Se revelaron otras relaciones significativas. Se discuten las implicaciones teóricas y prácticas, junto con sugerencias para futuras investigaciones y la posibilidad de expandir los puntos de vista conceptuales actuales sobre los atracones visuales.
Article
Full-text available
This study examined psychological constructs related to the subjective experience of binge-watching serial video content. The results underscore the centrality of transportation in shaping viewers’ perceptions of the binge-watching experience and their binge-watching behaviors. Transportation was positively related to binge-watching frequency and mediated the impact of binge-watching session length on development of parasocial interactions (full mediation) and on binge-watching enjoyment (partial mediation). Ability to experience flow was found to predict the length of a binge-watching session. Other significant relationships were revealed. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, along with suggestions for future research and the possibility of expanding current conceptual views of binge-watching.
Article
Full-text available
Social network sites are becoming essential to how people experience news. The social media feed is made up of a mixture of private and public postings, and news is intertwined with all sorts of activities. What people are exposed to partly depends on the behaviour of their fellow networkers. Drawing on theories of opinion leaders and the concept of incidental news consumption, this article examines news-gathering on social media using a combination of representative survey data and qualitative interviews with young people aged 16–19. Regression analysis of the survey data reveals the primary factor explaining use of news on social media is the habit of using online news services. Interest in news and age also contribute to this phenomenon. The qualitative study reveals that interviewees’ news consumption through social networks is frequent. While incidental, they nonetheless seem to count on being informed through this medium. There is a widespread presence of opinion leaders in the respondents’ social media feeds, bringing attention to news they otherwise would have missed, and just as important, delivering interpretation and context. The study also indicates that these opinion leaders are perceived as central or even crucial to the news-gathering process.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we explore how binge-watching culture and technology are changing the ways viewers understand and interact with television. We propose that the motives and rituals of binge-viewers can be used to expand uses and gratifications (U&G) theory. We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews to gather thick descriptions of why people binge-watch, how they binge-watch, and how they feel about binge-watching. The findings indicate that (1) viewers’ primary motivations for binge-watching are catching up, relaxation, sense of completion, cultural inclusion, and improved viewing experience; (2) the portability and navigability of streaming video technology influence binge-watching rituals; and (3) viewers are ambivalent about their binge-watching. Based on the findings, we propose that a viewer attentiveness spectrum is a more accurate descriptor of contemporary TV watching than the passive/active dichotomy. We further argue that the changing motives and rituals of TV viewers can be used to bolster the quantitative surveys often employed in U&G research and to address the lingering criticisms of U&G theory.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The purpose of the paper is to explore various motivations that influence college students to spend more time binge watching and the subsequent gratifications. Video streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon Video have changed the viewing habits of consumers. Viewers have more control and can enjoy on-demand content as per their convenience. This has resulted in viewers watching multiple episodes of television shows in a compressed time frame – a phenomenon termed as binge watching. College students engage in binge watching because of the various gratifications that it promises. This paper investigates the various triggers and consequences of binge watching. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected through a mixed method approach. The first stage involved qualitative interviews and focused group discussions with college students to understand the phenomenon of binge watching. The second stage involved administering a questionnaire to address our research question. Findings Findings indicate that social interaction, escape from reality, easy accessibility to TV content and advertising motivate college students to spend more time binge watching. If students are negatively gratified after binge watching, then they intend to spend more time doing it. Originality/value The findings have important implications on the overall wellbeing of college students and strategic implications for video streaming companies.
Article
Full-text available
Study objectives: To investigate the prevalence of binge viewing, its association with sleep and examine arousal as an underlying mechanism of this association. Methods: Four hundred twenty-three adults (aged 18-25 years old, 61.9% female) completed an online survey assessing regular television viewing, binge viewing, sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), fatigue (Fatigue Assessment Scale), insomnia (Bergen Insomnia Scale), and pre-sleep arousal (Pre-Sleep Arousal Scale). Regression analyses were conducted. Mediation analysis was performed using PROCESS Macro. Results: There were 80.6% who identified themselves as a binge viewer. Among those who binge viewed (n = 341), 20.2% had binge viewed at least a few times a week during the past month. Among poor sleepers (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index > 5), 32.6% had a poor sleep quality associated with being a binge viewer. Higher binge viewing frequency was associated with a poorer sleep quality, increased fatigue and more symptoms of insomnia, whereas regular television viewing was not. Cognitive pre-sleep arousal fully mediated these relationships. Conclusions: New viewing styles such as binge viewing are increasingly prevalent and may pose a threat to sleep. Increased cognitive arousal functions as the mechanism explaining these effects. Measures of media exposure should take into account the user's level of engagement with media. Interventions aimed at (1) alerting viewers about excessive viewing duration and (2) reducing arousal before sleep may be useful ways to tackle sleep problems in binge viewers.
Article
Full-text available
The advent of the smartphone has dramatically altered how we communicate, navigate, work and entertain ourselves. While the advantages of this new technology are clear, constant use may also bring negative consequences, such as a loss of productivity due to interruptions in work life. A link between smartphone overuse and loss of productivity has often been hypothesized, but empirical evidence on this question is scarce. The present study addressed this question by collecting self-report data from N = 262 participants, assessing private and work-related smartphone use, smartphone addiction and self-rated productivity. Our results indicate a moderate relationship between smartphone addiction and a self-reported decrease in productivity due to spending time on the smartphone during work, as well as with the number of work hours lost to smartphone use. Smartphone addiction was also related to a greater amount of leisure time spent on the smartphone and was strongly related to a negative impact of smartphone use on daily non-work related activities. These data support the idea that tendencies towards smartphone addiction and overt checking of the smartphone could result in less productivity both in the workplace and at home. Results are discussed in relation to productivity and technostress.
Article
By adding a new dimension, information seeking, to the traditional way of measuring opinion leadership, this article suggests an additional conceptualization of interpersonal communication and influence.
Article
This study focuses on the expanding trend of marathon (“binge”) television viewing. It examines the personality antecedents of such media consumption (attachment style, depression, and self-regulation deficiency) as well as the psychological experiences of marathon viewers relative to the narrative (transportation, enjoyment) and its characters (parasocial relationship, identification). In a two-study design, theoretical models of media use and involvement, on the one hand, and models of media addiction, on the other hand, are applied to predict the extent of marathon viewing and to compare it with “traditional” viewing. Results advance understanding of enjoyment and involvement theory and support cognitive theories of media addiction. At time same time, the study’s findings reveal that marathon television viewers are active both cognitively and emotionally during and after the media exposure, thus alleviating some concerns about the “problematic” nature of the “binge” viewing phenomenon.
Article
Watching television shows using online television streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Youku, has mushroomed in the recent years. Along with these services, binge watching, defined as an act of consuming more than one episode of a television show in quick succession, has become a widespread behavior. Yet, it has received very little attention from academics. This study conceptualizes binge watching and examines its effect on satisfaction. We present binge watching as a two-dimensional system usage concept, including behavioral and cognitive involvement components. Using these components, we then study their impact on user satisfaction. We test our explorative approach with a sample of 227 respondents using Partial Least Squares modeling. The results support heterogeneous view of online television streaming service use. That is, involvement with binge watching is over-estimated and does not define user satisfaction. Our study contributes to online consumer behavior research as well as the information systems literature by investigating binge watching as a distinct form of technology use.
Article
Episodic television drama is currently one of the most popular, profitable and variable forms of audio-visual media production. The author of the study focuses on its ability to appeal to people preferring 'traditional' modes of reception as well as to media audiences that spend a lot of their free time in the virtual world. New trends in production of dramatic television series and serials refer to importance of multimedia distribution platforms and fully acknowledge social networks as communication and advertising channels that are capable of actively encouraging the emergence and evolution of so-called "institutionalised fandoms". The text aims to offer a set of theoretical outlines related to post-television era, placing emphasis on "brandcasting", a term that has been developed in order to thoroughly reflect on processes of television branding which often result in hybrid communication forms merging media content and promotional material. The author also focuses on specific modes of producing, distributing and consuming episodic television drama in the context of so-called "over-the-top" television (OTT TV) or rather "connected" television. The addressed development tendencies are explained through an analysis of successful cooperation between two popular entertainment brands (Marvel Television and Netflix) that is built upon the contemporary 'boom' of superheroes and their stories. A basic assumption here is that television drama serials produced by Marvel and exclusively distributed by Netflix can be seen as hybrids of content and promotion which significantly expand Marvel's global popularity and Netflix's increasing influence in the sphere of digital media production and distribution.