McAdams On: Binge TV

THE, COUCH — Recent research has revealed a number of things, I’m sure. One item from the fine folks at The Home Technology Monitor said nearly 20 percent of U.S. TV households now relies exclusively on over-the-air television reception. That’s up about 6 percent from 2010, and not necessarily because we’re all watching “Game of Thrones” on iPads.

“Few broadcast-only homes report Internet service connected to their TV set; when asked why they cancelled TV service, the overwhelming majority—over 60 percent—cited cost-cutting; far fewer mentioned cord-cutting because of online viewing options,” wrote David Tice of GfK’s Media & Entertainment Technology group, publisher of the Monitor.

Tice speculated that rather than online (over-the-top, OTT—whatever you want to call it) viewing, cord-cutters are motivated by the multichannel choices now available with digital broadcasting.

“In larger markets… there may be more than 20 total channels via over-the-air broadcast signals.”

Try something like 40 daytime channels in DMA No. 145. Yet I suspect the impetus is something more granular than simply channel choices. It goes to the emerging way we’re watching TV, separate from device adoption.

We’re binge-watchers.

I was first introduced to the binge-watch when my friend sent me four seasons of “Dexter” on DVD. Many hours of butchery, nightmares and therapy later, I moved on to “GoT” via HBO on Demand in the villa where I temporarily was holed up. The shock of that having subsided, I can now watch “Big Bang Theory” nearly all hours of the day courtesy of local multicast channels. The beauty of this linear method is that it requires no effort whatsoever, which, to me, is rather the point of watching TV. It’s like the weather radar model, only better. You run one show, all the time, and start over at the end of the last season’s episode.

Binge TV. Wait for it…

Flickr cc image by Stephen Bowler