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Binge Watching

Motivations and Implications of Our Changing Viewing Behaviors

Bridget Rubenking and Cheryl Campanella Bracken

This book situates binge watching as one of several new television viewing behaviors which collectively contribute to a fundamental change in the way we view television today. Simply put, binge watching changes, or has the potential to change, everything: Engagement, immersion, attention to content and other devices, identification with characters and social engagement with fellow viewers, as well as content choices, and cable and over-the-top (OTT) subscription rates. Binge watching has quickly become a new norm in television viewing across audiences.

Binge Watching reviews historically significant advancements in the television industry and in technology that better enable binge watching, such as timeshifting, increasing quantity and (sometimes) quality of content, as well as distribution strategies and suggestions algorithms employed by OTT providers. We situate binge watching as human-centered, that is, driven by innate human needs and wants, such as a desire to consume well-constructed stories and to connect with others. We also review the current state of academic binge watching research—from motives and habituation to the (over-pathologizing) addiction-based studies. This text concludes with a synopsis of the central arguments made and identifies several areas for future research.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Rubenking, Bridget, author. | Bracken, Cheryl Campanella, author.

Title: Binge watching: motivations and implications of our changing viewing behaviors / Bridget Rubenking and Cheryl Campanella Bracken.

Description: 1 Edition. | New York: Peter Lang, 2020. Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2019059967 (print) | LCCN 2019059968 (ebook)ISBN 978-1-4331-6190-2 (hardback) | ISBN 978-1-4331-6191-9 (paperback) ISBN 978-1-4331-6192-6 (ebook pdf)ISBN 978-1-4331-6193-3 (epub) | ISBN 978-1-4331-6194-0 (mobi)

Subjects: Binge watching (Television) | Television viewers. | Human behavior.

Classification: LCC HE8700.65 .R83 2020 (print) | LCC HE8700.65 (ebook) | DDC 302.23/45—dc23

LC record available at

LC ebook record available at 10.3726/b14726

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