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Binge-watching becoming top way to view TV

When it comes to binge-watching preferences, dramas such as AMC’s “Mad Men” trump comedies. (Associated Press)
When it comes to binge-watching preferences, dramas such as AMC’s “Mad Men” trump comedies. (Associated Press)
Patrick Kevin Day Los Angeles Times

Binge-watching is definitely a buzzword in the media, but according to a new survey, it really has become the dominant mode of TV consumption in the U.S.

Deloitte LLP’s Digital Democracy Survey of more than 2,000 content consumers age 14 and older, found that 68 percent of respondents said they have binge-watched a series at some point, with 31 percent saying they did so at least once a week.

Binge-watching in this instance was defined as watching three or more episodes of the same series in a single sitting.

The digital revolution that is bringing TV content streaming into our households in more accessible ways than ever before is also letting us watch when we want. Over half of the survey’s respondents said they chose to stream movies and TV shows, while 45 percent said they preferred to watch programs live on traditional broadcast or cable TV.

No surprise to the millions of “Game of Thrones” or “Mad Men” devotees out there, the survey found that dramas were the dominant binge-watch genre, with 54 percent of respondents saying they choose to power through those hourlong episodes.

Despite their shorter length in general, comedies were less popular as a binge-watch subject, with 20 percent saying they choose to binge on belly laughs.

The results also indicated a split among genders, with more women among the drama bingers and more men among the comedy bingers.

Though more TV is being streamed than ever before, the survey found that doesn’t necessarily mean Americans are sitting in front of their screens carefully parsing the framing or detail put into many of the prestige series on TV. The study found that 90 percent of respondents said they multitasked while watching programs, with two age demographics – millennials and Generation X – performing an average of three other activities while watching, including Internet browsing and text messaging.

Advertisers may take note of the fact that nearly 75 percent of participants in the survey said they pay more attention to digital ads over ads on traditional broadcast TV – and 62 percent said they’d be more willing to watch those ads online if it meant they didn’t have to pay more for their streaming services.

Increasingly, the survey indicated, millennials are moving away from traditional TV, with the Internet the most valued service among 93 percent of the younger generation. Nearly 40 percent of all respondents said they play video games on a daily or weekly basis, a pastime that is spread over gaming consoles (24 percent), smartphones (21 percent) and tablets (11 percent).

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