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Netflix binges impact campus social dynamics

Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 00:02


William Guerra

Netflix binging — the act of watching multiple television episodes back to back in one sitting — has become a popular pastime among
college students.

“I don’t watch it that often, but before school started I watched all five seasons of Breaking Bad,” said Michael Pickel, junior recreation, park and tourism
sciences major.

There are 62 episodes total of Breaking Bad. With each episode totaling 45 minutes, that is 2,790 minutes, or 46.5 hours
of viewing.

In a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Netflix, “binge watching” was defined as watching between two to six episodes at one time. This was found to be a widespread activity, with more than 60 percent of those surveyed reporting binge watching regularly. Unashamed, 73 percent of those streamers said they had positive feelings towards binge streaming TV.

Pickel said it took him seven days to watch all 62 episodes — a 40-hour week with six and a half hours of overtime.

Gabriel Amaro, former sociology instructor at Texas A&M, said students need to be able to structure their lives around watching Netflix so they don’t procrastinate too much.

“Technology is at your fingertips and this is just another way that technology is getting into people’s lives,”

Amaro said.

Kendall Gilliland, sophomore biomedical sciences major, blazed through eight seasons of Dexter in just over
two weeks.

“I didn’t really just lay around and watch all day, I’d have it on while I was cleaning or doing homework,” Gilliland said. “I like having noise in the background, plus it’s an interesting show without all
the ads.”

For others, watching their favorite show is a welcome break
from life.

“All I did over break was sit in my room and watch Gossip Girl,” said Paige Milburn, sophomore biomedical sciences major. “I’d wake up, workout and come back home. After I would shower, I’d grab some lunch and snuggle under my blanket and watch about eight to 10 episodes a day. I only got up to use the bathroom and get food. I am slightly ashamed but not really. I got through about five seasons.”

Amaro said this kind of watching can be negative for people who tend to keep to themselves. However, watching with others can be a positive source of connection among a group of friends,
Amaro said.

Netflix has more than 44 million members, according to the
company’s website.

“It’s so hard to stop with shows that end, on cliff hangers because of the ‘15 seconds until your next episode’ aspect,” Milburn said. “It’s never stopped me from going out with friends, just maybe a little later than
I’d planned.”  

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