Binge-watching: what reasons?

Binge-watching: what reasons?

Individual differences relating to psychological traits influence the way and intensity with which the use of media is used. Shim and Kim (2018) focused on the psychological traits that moderate the motivations behind binge watching. 


Advertising message The progress and diffusion of information communication technologies (ICTs), the development of personal multimedia devices and internet connections, capable of providing content anywhere and at any time, have significantly changed the means and quality of media consumption. Through online streaming, it is now possible to watch your favorite TV series in succession, rather than watching one episode per week (Hirsen, 2015; Sodano, 2012). In fact, uncontrolled behavior, connoted with the term “binge”, is defined as the consumption of large quantities of a product in a short period of time. Recent polls have revealed that 70% of Americans watch an average of five consecutive episodes,

In 2018, an online survey of 785 binge watchers was conducted, in order to explore, on the one hand, the reasons that push individuals to “binge” on TV series, on the other how psychological traits influence this conduct. Specifically, the objectives were mainly two: to identify the reasons behind the phenomenon, and to explore whether they are connected to the typical behavior of binge wacthing.

This study adopts a user-centered approach based on use and gratification (U&G) theory to explore the potential motivations responsible for binge watching behavior. Precisely, this theoretical framework conceptualizes gratification as the degree of satisfaction experienced by subjects when the services and contents meet their expectations and needs (Katz, Blumer, & Gurevitch, 1973). Atkin (1985) argued that individuals use the media to satisfy intrinsic desires, such as entertainment, or to pursue extrinsic utility, such as seeking information. Bryant and Miron (2002) argued, however, that the use of the media provides an intrinsically rewarding experience, allows to achieve a certain balance between positive and negative emotional states, also favoring

Advertising message Individual differences in psychological traits are known to influence the way and intensity of media use (Wimmer & Dominick, 2013). In particular, Shim and Kim (2018) focused on individual differences related to sensation seeking and the need for cognition, understood as key psychological traits that moderate the effects of binge watching motivations on binge watching behavior. By sensation seeking, we mean the tendency to constantly seek new experiences and emotions; for need of knowledge we refer to the observer’s need to discover and know more and more the plot.

The survey was sent online to 1300 South Koreans, of whom 785 reported their TV series binge watching experience. The items of the questionnaire have been adapted from previous valid studies. Each variable was punctuated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree.

The results revealed that key motivations for binge watching are: fun, efficiency, advice from others, perceived control and fandom. Specifically, fun, efficiency and fandom are significant predictors of binge watching behavior, especially among individuals with a high need for knowledge and high sensation seeking, therefore favoring a gratification purely linked to pleasure. Conversely, efficiency and perceived control place the emphasis on the pragmatic and utilitarian benefits of binge watching. In fact, the ability to watch multiple consecutive episodes of your favorite TV series, allows the observer, on the one hand, to escape from everyday stress, allowing him access to a fantasy world inclusive of loved characters,