Streaming, Snacking and “Stranger Things:” The Data Behind Binge Watching
Goodbye broadcast, hello streaming.
That is the overwhelming response from a recent content and viewing habits study produced by Qualtrics, the leader in experience management. Although the shift from broadcast television to on-demand streaming has been a talking point of media watchers for years, the recent Qualtrics study produced some surprising data points, and some fan theories for the upcoming season of “Stranger Things.”
Here’s a review of the results.
Netflix is the Champ
Although Amazon Prime and Hulu put up a decent challenge, nobody has a greater hold on viewing audiences than streaming stalwart Netflix. Even live TV now lags behind. The data is clear, however, that most viewers do not limit themselves to a single option.
Q. In which of the following ways do you prefer to watch shows?
- Netflix – 30%
- Live TV – 23%
- Recorded – 16%
- Amazon Prime – 15%
- Hulu – 11%
- Apps provided by station – 4%
Settle in, this could be a long evening
When it comes to TV, most people would prefer to binge on multiple episodes at a time than spread out in weekly installments. Around two-thirds of respondents had no interest in delaying their gratification and would prefer to just keep going, thank you very much.
Q. Which do you most prefer when watching a show?
- Binge watching – 66%
- Via weekly episode release – 34%
Netflix and Chill? Not really a thing
There are a few key things that would make viewers hit the pause button, but sex is not one of the top results. Only 13% of respondents would pause a show to get frisky, but bathroom breaks (22%) and food (19%) rank higher. Even phone calls and a reluctant need for sleep are more likely to get that pause. Two things that were less popular responses than sex? Texting (5%) and family time (12%).
Q. Which of the following would make you pause a show while binge watching?
- Bathroom break – 22%
- Food – 19%
- Phone call – 15%
- Sleep – 14%
- Sex – 13%
- Family time – 12%
- Text – 5%
Bingeing happens late at night
It’s worth mentioning that sleep is the natural enemy of binge watching. You are most likely to find a binger in comfy sweat clothes, past 1 a.m., with water, chips and pizza. Sound familiar? Then you are probably also about #ThatBingeLife.
Q. If you binge watch a show on a weekend, which of the following do you do to prepare? Check all that apply.
- Put on sweats/comfy clothes – 24%
- Finish chores – 15%
- Order take out – 15%
- Purchase treats – 14%
- Cook food – 14%
- Turn out the lights – 13%
- Cancel plans – 3%
- Turn off cell phones to avoid interruption – 2%
Q. Which of the following have you done because you couldn’t stop watching a show? Check all that apply.
- Watched past 1 a.m. – 24%
- Watched during dinner – 19%
- Stayed up all night – 15%
- Missed planned workout – 8%
- Bailed on social plans – 8%
- Didn’t brush teeth or other personal hygiene – 7%
- Watched while using the bathroom – 6%
- Didn’t eat – 5%
- Watched at work – 4%
- Missed a class – 2%
- Called in sick to work – 1%
- Watched while driving – 1%
Q. What do you generally drink while binge watching?
- Water – 41%
- Caffeinated drinks – 26%
- Alcohol – 14%
- Juice – 11%
- Milk – 4%
- Sports drinks – 4%
Q. What do you generally eat while binge watching?
- Chips – 17%
- Pizza – 16%
- Popcorn – 13%
- Cookies – 9%
- Ice Cream – 9%
- Candy – 9%
- Fruit – 7%
- Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers – 7%
- Other – 5%
- Vegetables – 5%
- Sushi – 2%
- Waffles – 1%
The life of the typical binge watcher
The typical binge watcher is an unusual creature. Almost two-thirds are happy and optimistic about their lives, and 60% are satisfied with their work-life balance. However, they must have learned that money isn’t everything, because 50% of the binge watchers make less than $40k per year.
- 50% of binge watchers make less than $40K per year
- More than 65% say they are satisfied with their life, happy and optimistic
- 60% say they are satisfied with their work-life balance
- Over 60% are not religious
There’s always something good on Netflix
Among Netflix’s award-winning original series, “Stranger Things” is the most popular with 22% of viewers having watched the show. “Orange is the New Black” is a close second at 20%.
Q. Which of these Netflix shows have you watched? Check all that apply.
- Stranger Things – 22%
- Orange is the New Black – 20%
- House of Cards – 14%
- 13 Reasons – 12%
- How to Make a Murderer – 10%
Speaking of “Stranger Things”…
Viewers of the hit show “Stranger Things” have a lot of theories about what will happen in the highly anticipated second season. Many believe either Chief Hopper or Eleven are likely to die in season two.
Other debates resolved by the study include the belief that Will is not a Demogorgon (68%), Eleven is not destined to eternal banishment to the “upside down” (89%), and Nancy Wheeler will end up with Jonathan Byers (63%)
Q. Who is most likely to die this season?
- Chief Hopper – 28%
- Eleven – 18%
- Steve Harrington – 15%
- Will Byers – 14%
- Nancy Wheeler – 7%
- Lucas Sinclair – 6%
- Joyce Byers – 5%
- Mike Wheeler – 3%
- Dustin Henderson – 2%
- Jonathan Byers – 2%
Q. Do you agree with the following: Will is a Demogorgon
- No – 69%
- Yes – 31%
Q. Do you agree with the following: Eleven can be saved
- Yes – 90%
- No – 10%
Q. Which boy will Nancy Wheeler end up with?
- Jonathan Byers – 63%
- Steve Harrington – 37%
No idea what any of the above means? Not a problem, catch up when “Stranger Things 2” drops on October 27.
You will be in good company, anyway. A big chunk of people watched all of “Stranger Things” Season One in under three days (42%). The total percentage of people who watched the series in less than a week was a robust 73%. Only 10% of viewers took three weeks or more to complete the first season.
Q. How many days did it take you to finish the whole first season of Stranger Things?
- 1-3 days – 43%
- 4-7 days – 32%
- 2 weeks – 9%
- 1 day – 8%
- 3 weeks – 3%
- 1 month – 3%
- More than 1 month – 3%
Qualtrics surveyed over 500 adults who regularly watch TV to determine their streaming habits, viewing preferences, and platform preferences. The study was conducted in September 2017.