Binging: The series

Binge watching is quickly becoming a major part of television-culture viewing as the amount of streaming platforms and content increases every day.

Ted Yarmoski , Asst. Opinion Edit

“Just one more episode” is something you’ve probably said to yourself once or twice at three in the morning. Don’t worry, the majority of America has been there.

However, statistics make it apparent that there is a major divide between the watching habits of the young and the old. According to Nielsen, the amount of people over the age of 50 who watch live television and DVR is increasing, while the time spent watching by all Americans is expected to remain stable at about 50 hours a week. This is due to people 24 and under watching less TV every year as streaming services take over. Netflix subscribers alone stream over 125 million hours, or about 14,000 years, every day.

The preferred way to catch up on popular series, binge-watching is now practiced by 73 percent of U.S. consumers, according to a study by consulting firm Deloitte. These binge sessions consist of an average five to six episodes—which makes up about four hours of content.

These marathons are more common with teens and young adults, with about 90 percent of millennials and Generation Z (10-20 year olds) reporting that they regularly binge or have binged before.

Out of the 134 DBHS students surveyed by The Bull’s Eye, 83 percent binge watch, while 41 percent admit that streaming negatively affects their schoolwork. Most streaming and binging takes place on Netflix although players such as Hulu and Twitch are forming their own niches in the streaming universe.

“If there is a show I love, I’ll binge watch it all day, every day, until I finish,” DBHS junior Sheryl Lin said.

Twitch, where users can stream their own gaming content or watch others, has gained popularity in recent years. Similar to Youtube, it creates its own celebrities on the site, with people anticipating when their favorite streamer will be online. There have been 21 million hours of unique content streamed on Twitch this year alone; that number rapidly increases each day.

On average, users dedicate over an hour and a half of their day to the site.

“I watch one to two hours a day, usually while I’m doing my homework,” DBHS senior Andy Chou said. “It really depends on who’s streaming.”

Those who do not binge have daily routines with their favorite shows worked into them. Dedicating a certain part of the day to streaming is becoming a common practice, especially with students and those with a consistent work schedule.

“I usually put aside one hour for Netflix before I start homework, which usually results in staying up late,” DBHS junior Matthew Santilla said.

While there are many harmful effects that can come about from watching too much programming, such as not getting enough movement and a lack of productivity, the main side effect of streaming is the lack of sleep.

Many students believe they are using TV as a sleep aid, when in fact it is decreasing their quality of sleep. When watching a show, the temptation to stay up and find out what happens next is difficult to resist, especially when violence, gore or suspense is involved.

Episodes that end on a cliffhanger encourage the viewer to watch “just one more episode.” They are now committed to another full length episode potentially containing yet another cliffhanger. Not only does this take away from total sleep time, but it also makes sleep harder to achieve with anxiety and adrenaline released.

“I lost two to three hours of sleep from streaming every night in the summer,” DBHS freshman Presley Moon said.

Whether it be hours of binging or daily sessions, streaming has worked itself into the schedule of many young consumers, who prioritize that next episode over their health. Streaming services want to make sure that trend continues, as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, “We’re competing with sleep, on the margin.”