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Binge-Viewers Want Ad-Free TV Time

Streaming services top platforms for binge-watching

Ever sat down to watch an episode of a TV show and gotten sucked in for hours on end? That’s called binge-viewing, and a May 2014 study by Annalect—which defined binge-viewing as watching three or more episodes of the same television show in one setting—found that 63% of US TV watchers ages 18 and older fell into this category (though just 30% actually said so).

Those who did binge-view voiced a strong aversion to advertisements during their TV time, with 58% saying they liked binge-viewing because they didn’t have to watch ads. A close 57% said ads prevented them from fully enjoying their TV shows, and 53% didn’t think that commercials even had a place in the binge-viewing world.

Still, 49% of binge-viewers acknowledged that ads were a part of TV time—whether binge-watching or not. On top of that, 38% of binge-viewers said they would be fine with seeing ads as they binge-watched if it lowered their subscription rates, and 35% of respondents reported that ads actually provided a nice break from binge-viewing.

Where were those binge-viewers likely to see ads? Half of respondents binge-viewed through a streaming service, 43% on broadcast/cable TV and 31% via DVR. These responses were in line with respondents’ preferred binge-viewing platform. Fully 35% favored streaming, 27% preferred broadcast/cable TV and 16% cited DVR as their top choice.

A breakdown by age highlighted several differences in generational preferences, though. The majority of millennials (54%) preferred streaming, compared with 36% of Gen Xers and 16% of boomers. Meanwhile, boomers favored broadcast/cable TV for binge-viewing, cited by 46% of respondents, while just 14% and 19% of millennials and Gen Xers, respectively, said the same. DVR saw low response rates across the board: 12% for millennials, 19% for Gen Xers and 17% for boomers.

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