The Netflix Binge Scale: What we devour and what we savour

By Wenlei Ma

Breaking Bad is one of the TV shows that viewers love to binge watch.
Breaking Bad is one of the TV shows that viewers love to binge watch.

Binge watching is just binge watching, right?

Apparently, not all bingeing is the same. You can devour a show like Cookie Monster does with delicious baked goods. Or you can savour it like that box of fancy $40 chocolate truffles someone gave you that one time.

Netflix, pretty much the world authority on binge watching, decided to find out what kind of shows inspire couch potatoes to remain like inanimate objects and which shows take a bit longer to finish off.

On average, a Netflix viewer watches roughly two hours and 10 minutes a day and typically completes one season in one week. Of course, this is only counting the people who finish a season, not those fickle commitment-phobes who break up with a show midway through (the nerve!).

A scene from the TV show, The Walking Dead.
A scene from the TV show, The Walking Dead.

On the devour end are more genre shows with thrillers, sci-fi and horror programs the most prevalent. Series including Breaking Bad, The 100, The Walking Dead, Sense8, The Fall and American Horror Story feature heavily down that end.

On the savour end are your irreverent comedies such as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Arrested Development and Bojack Horseman, political dramas like House of Cards and Homeland and historical dramas including Mad Men.

Down the middle of the spectrum are the likes of dramedies including Orange Is The New Black and Weeds, superhero dramas such as Jessica Jones and Daredevil and crime dramas like Narcos and Bloodline.

Do you savour or binge? Photo / Netflix
Do you savour or binge? Photo / Netflix

On average, someone who devoured a show did it in four days while someone who savoured a show did it in six days.

While there's not much difference in the scheme of things between the time it took to devour a show versus the time it took to savour a show, there are still some interesting patterns that emerged.

Namely that no matter which end of the scale they fell, those who finished off a series finished it fast, especially compared to ye olde consumption methods where a 13-episode season would be finished in, well, 13 weeks (though not necessarily by choice).

Additionally, Netflix has some theories as to why some categories are more devourable than others.

Netflix vice president of Original Content Cindy Holland told news.com.au: "We were a little surprised initially that irreverent comedies are at the savour end of the scale but when you dig a little deeper and look at the attributes of the series that fall into that category, like Arrested Development, they're very densely layered shows.

A scene from the TV show, Arrested Development.
A scene from the TV show, Arrested Development.

"All have dark, comedic elements and all have many layers of jokes that are laid into the series so they require pausing and thinking about what you just watched. And at times, rewatching what you've watched to make sure you catch everything. At first it was a little counterintuitive to us but when we dug up on it, that definitely makes sense. It also makes sense that heavy, emotional dramas and political dramas tend to be at the same end of the spectrum.

"Then at the devour end of the spectrum, you get into really core genre types of programs - mind-bending sci-fi, horror, thriller - the kinds of series that are really more propulsive and provides thrills and scares."

- news.com.au

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