The Netflix Binge Scale, revealing our massive consumption of media
Binging shows on Netflix has become a staple in our culture. We are powering through series and events like never before, streaming shows at at an incredible rate. In the past we were content with one episode per week of our favorite shows, now Netflix members average finishing an entire season in just one week.
Though binge watching is clearly the new normal, not all series are enjoyed the same way. Today Netflix unveils The Binge Scale, revealing which shows we devour and which we savor.
Netflix examined global viewing of more than 100 serialized TV series across more than 190 countries and found when members are focused on finishing a series, they watch a little over two hours a day to complete a season.
When organizing series in relation to this benchmark, interesting patterns emerge, ranging from high energy narratives that are devoured to thought-provoking dramas that are savored.
The Netflix binge scale (as detailed by Netflix)
Series like Sense8 and The 100 grab you, assault your senses, and as The Binge Scale shows, make it hard to pull away. The classic elements of horror and thrillers go straight for the gut, pushing the placement of series like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and The Fall towards the devour end of the scale. Likewise, comedies with a dramatic bent, like Orange is the New Black, Nurse Jackie and Grace and Frankie, seem to tickle our fancy and make it easy to say ‘just one more.’
It’s no surprise that complex narratives, like that of House of Cards and Bloodline, are indulged at an unhurried pace. Nor that viewers take care to appreciate the details of dramas set in bygone eras, like Peaky Blinders andMad Men. Maybe less obvious are irreverent comedies like BoJack Horseman, Love and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. But the societal commentary that powers their densely layered comedy paired with characters that are as flawed as they are entertaining allow them to be savored.
“As The Binge Scale indicates, the viewing experience of a series can range from the emotional to the thought-provoking,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix. “Netflix helps you to find a series to binge no matter your mood or occasion, and the freedom to watch that series at your own pace – whether that’s to appreciate the drama of Bloodline or power through Orange is the New Black.”
How Netflix came up with the scale is quite remarkable. Netflix analyzed more than 100 serialized TV series across more than 190 countries between October 2015 and May 2016.
The research examined member completion of the first season for all series. Data was only included for accounts that fully completed the season. Completion rates were organized into days and hours. The global median days to complete the first season of these series was five days.
The median hours per session for completers overall was two hours and ten minutes. Series viewed less than two hours per day were identified as ‘savored.’ Series viewed more than two hours per day were identified as ‘devoured.’ Series were not restricted by launch dates, runtime or number of episodes. Where a series falls on The Netflix Binge Scale has no relation to viewership.
THE NETFLIX BINGE SCALE: From Savor to Devour (Based on global viewing data)
Irreverent Comedies: Arrested Development, BoJack Horseman, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Love, F is for Family, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Political Dramas: House of Cards, Occupied, The West Wing
Historical Dramas: Mad Men, Narcos, Peaky Blinders
Superhero Drama: Gotham, Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, The Flash
Crime Dramas: Better Call Saul, Bloodline, The Blacklist, Twin Peaks
Dramatic Comedies: Flaked, Grace & Frankie, Nurse Jackie, Orange is the New Black, Parenthood, Weeds
Action & Adventure: Arrow, Marco Polo, Prison Break, Turn
Sci-Fi: Ascension, Between, Heroes, Sense8, The 100, The 4400
Horror: American Horror Story, Hemlock Grove, Scream, The Walking Dead, Z Nation
Thriller: Bates Motel, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, The Fall, The Following, The Killing