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Defining new viewing behaviours: What makes and motivates TV binge-watching?

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The term ‘binge watching’ is common in popular media and is one of several new ways of TV viewing that capitalizes on the wide availability of digital video and streaming services. However, the term lacks clear conceptualization, and the underlying motivations associated with it remain under-explored. Results from eleven focus groups of university students in the United States suggest binge watching is characterized as viewing suspenseful dramatic, narrative content for a considerable amount of time: often more than three or four hours. Analyses revealed four emergent motivations that contribute to individuals binge watching: (1) anticipation of what was coming next – facilitated by both content and technology features, (2) management of moods and excitement/ arousal, (3) procrastination and escapism, (4) social goals – related to both co-viewing, discussing content with others and identification with characters. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.
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Keywords: audience studies; binge watching; focus groups; media habits; motivation; viewing behaviours

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Central Florida 2: Cleveland State University

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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  • The International Journal of Digital Television will describe and explain the transition to digital TV and wider trends in television. As switchover happens across the globe and television's operations and audiences are transformed, the International Journal of Digital Television will be at the forefront of efforts to understand the changes and developments.
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