The Washington Post

Binge-watching is finally, officially socially acceptable

Breaking Bad’s Jesse and Walt, binge-watching TV. Or something. (AMC)

Good news, Netflix addicts and inveterate couch potatoes: In the past year, binge-watching has become a socially acceptable habit. So you no longer have to stream in secret. Or tell your friends you spent the weekend skydiving or saving puppies, when you actually watched 13 episodes of “Orange Is the New Black.”

TiVo Research and Analytics, the data arm of DVR manufacturer TiVo, polled 15,000 American TV-watchers about their binging habits — a survey it also conducted at this time last year. In 2013, a majority of respondents, 53 percent, said they considered binge-watching “a negative term.” This year, only one third did.

That decline shouldn’t be terribly surprising: After all, both networks and Netflix have made moves to encourage binge viewing. The most-binged program, “Breaking Bad,” split its final season into two parts, giving latecomers plenty of time to catch up before the finale. And the second most-binged program, “House of Cards,” is a Netflix property — which means all its episodes hit the Internet at once. Per TiVo, more than two-thirds of respondents say they’ve binged recently.

(TiVo Research and Analytics)

Of course, even all this mainstream social acceptance probably won’t change the core connotation of the word “binge.” Urban Dictionary’s lead definition of the term, which dates from 2010, still uses this sentence as an example:

“I felt like hell all day because I was up till 4:00 binge-watching season 2 of ‘Dexter.’ ”

Welp — 69 percent of us have been there.

Caitlin Dewey is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (
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