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Netflix at the Nexus

Content, Practice, and Production in the Age of Streaming Television

Edited By Theo Plothe and Amber M. Buck

Netflix’s meteoric rise as an online content provider has been well documented and much debated in the popular press and in academic circles as an industry disrupter, while also blamed for ending TV’s "Golden Age." For academic researchers, Netflix exists at the nexus of multiple fields: internet research, information studies, media studies, and television and has an impact on the creation of culture and how individuals relate to the media they consume. Netflix at the Nexus examines Netflix’s broad impact on technology and television from multiple perspectives, including the interface, the content, and user experiences. Chapters by leading international scholars in television and internet studies provide a transnational perspective on Netflix’s changing role in the media landscape. As a whole, this collection provides a comprehensive consideration of the impact of streaming television.

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Chapter 13. Do Spoilers Matter?: Asynchronous Viewing Habits on Netflix and Twitter (Theo Plothe / Amber M. Buck)


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Asynchronous Viewing Habits on Netflix and Twitter

Theo Plothe and Amber M. Buck

As noted in the chapters throughout this collection and by the PEW Internet and American Life Project, video streaming is an increasingly popular way to watch television through digital streaming services, with 6 in 10 young adults (age 18–29) reporting this method as the primary way that they watch television (Rainie, 2017). In their study of television viewers, Bury and Li (2015) found that over half of their survey respondents watched timeshifted television with only 20% of respondents’ television viewing being live. 90% also watched some sort of streaming television service.

While streaming services have grown in popularity and replaced live broadcast television, at the same time, Pittman and Tefertiller (2015) noted that viewers are increasingly using social media like Twitter as a second screen application for “co-viewing” with other fans. Harrington, Highfield, and Bruns (2013) identify live television events, particularly political, sporting events, and reality television, as the primary types of television popular with Twitter, though scripted broadcast programs also enjoy a live second-screen following. These scholars also state that television “readily catalyzes audience discussion, interaction, fandom and other social activity. Twitter has become an important backchannel through which such social activity is sustained and made more widely visible” (p. 405). From sporting events to political debates and award shows, as well as even scripted dramas, hashtags are...

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