80.00 Pound £ The Days Of Talking TV At The Water Cooler Are Over Wetaskiwin

Published date: November 29, 2016
  • Location: 73109, Wetaskiwin, Nova Scotia, United States

Ben Leuner/AMCBreaking Bad.There used to be a time when, once a week, colleagues would gather around the water cooler to discuss the previous night's episode of a certain television show. When you would be left, mouth gaping, as a bombshell was dropped at the end of an episode of your favourite series; knowing you had to wait a full seven days to find out what happened next. When nobody but TV critics could publish spoilers; when all anyone could talk about for months on end was how on earth that season's drama was going to conclude.
Those days are long gone.
With the advent of on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer and Channel 4 On Demand, and internet streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video (formerly Lovefilm), how audiences follow television has fundamentally, irrevocably changed. Witness the rise of binge-watching.
House of Cards/NetflixHouse of Cards.Between 30 and 60 minutes of our favourite series is no longer enough to satiate our weekly appetite for screen-time. Instead, we find ourselves spending whole weekends - weeks, even - sprawled in bed or on the sofa, sleepwalking our way through hours of House of Cards (the long-awaited season three of which will be posted, in its entirety, on Netflix in February), Breaking Bad, Arrested Development and Game of Thrones.
Clicking on that teasing "Watch next episode" button has become second-nature. It's playing havoc with our social lives, work ethic and relationships - but it means we're watching more TV than ever.
It all started with the box-set. These neatly-packed gift bundles promised the saviour of the DVD industry (which continues to slump, down by 7% to $10.9bn in recent years) - but, instead, quickly migrated from the shelves of Blockbuster to the digital aisles of streaming sites, where they have been a fixture ever since.
HBOGoHBO GONowadays, around 75 per cent of TV viewers admit to binge-watching TV, according to a recent survey, and many of us can gladly reel off the box sets we've binged on - and what's next on our "to watch" list. Another study found that the ritual is the new normal, with 61 per cent of Netflix subscribers admitting to regular binges.
It may have turned us into a nation of sociophobic hermits, but binge-watching has also had a huge impact on the TV industry - not only how we view programmes, but what we watch and how they're made. Here are four ways in which it has changed TV forever:
1) We're watching more TV, meaning the demand for new content is higher than ever
According to the US-based TV Guide app, 24 per cent of its users watch more than 40 hours of TV per week, up from 17 per cent in 2012.
Audiences are becoming more demanding, pickier and more impatient - hence the decision by many TV conglomerates to "dump" entire series of certain shows online at a time, rather than drip-feeding us episode by episode.
2) Programs are made differently
Knowing that audiences are likely to indulge in a marathon viewing session naturally changes how producers construct programmes and whole series. There's less point in a mid-season cliffhanger, for example, if viewers are simply going to let Netflix do its thing and play the next episode 13 seconds after the previous one ends.
Actors are noticing the effects, too. Tina Fey, who is launching her next show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, on Netflix, says she finds the streaming format freeing". Expect fewer constraints; more experiments.
3) An entire industry has built up around binge-watching
Over the festive period, you may have noticed huge advertising campaigns geared around Netflix subscriptions or TV "bundles". Why buy one old-fashioned DVD for that Secret Santa, when you could buy a whole series - and save on wrapping paper by getting it online?
Marketing and distribution formats are being dramatically altered by the rise of the digital box set. More and more series are becoming exclusive to Netflix, too.
4) Somehow, staying at home and watching TV alone has become acceptable
What used to be a losers' game is now socially accepted. Cool, even. How else would you stay on top of all the incredible shows out there? Last summer, Netflix even advertised for what many perceived as a dream job: a UK-based "tagger" - aka a professional binge-watcher whose job comprised watching endless hours of TV. And being paid for it.
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