It’s fair to say that the term bingeing hasn’t always held the most pleasant connotations, but these days it’s music to the ears of OTT show producers looking to capture audiences’ undivided attention for far longer than we’ve ever seen before in programming.
The industry has talked for several years about the new millennial audiences and their binge-watching preferences. But our new stats into the extent of OTT bingeing paint a far more extensive picture of its impact, with a huge 73.4% of Netflix viewers watching two or more episodes of a show at a time, a figure that’s ever so slightly lower (69.9%) on Amazon Prime and slightly higher (74.4%) on Hulu. The jaw-dropping thing is, these stats don’t represent the biggest streaming blockbusters – this is the amount of binge-watching that occurs with the average streaming show.
The top 15 binged shows on Netflix benefit from a staggering 80%+ of viewers watching two or more episodes at once. The show with the highest percentage of bingeing on OTT in January was awkward British sitcom Lovesick on Netflix, with 91.6% of respondents saying they watch 2+ episodes at a time. Even the Netflix show with the lowest percentage of binge watching, left-field science entertainment show White Rabbit Project, manages to get 53% of its viewership watching 2+ episodes at a time. On Amazon Prime, British automotive show The Grand Tour is the least binged with, wait for it, an amazing 62% of viewers watching two or more episodes in a sitting. Proof, if proof be needed, that bingeing isn’t just a trend – it’s the preeminent way of watching OTT content.
Viewed in this light, a 30 minute episode format all of sudden translates into 60 minutes of airtime; a one hour episode becomes a two hour show, and so it goes. Remarkably, one third of all Netflix viewers now watch four or more episodes of a single program at a time; with Tokyo-based comedy drama Hibana Spark, this figure rises to an incredible 75% of viewers. On Amazon Prime, 30% of viewers watched four or more episodes of Woody Allen’s first foray into streaming programming, Crisis In Six Scenes, despite the show suffering from sniffy reviews.
Analyzing the streaming platforms by show genre also helps to illuminate viewers’ bingeing behaviors. For example, animation on Netflix drives the highest amount of binge; its shorter and more snackable format resonates with viewers, and consequently 38.5% watch four or more episodes in a single sitting. On Amazon Prime, comedy is the major draw, a genre that again benefits from shorter episode times, with 25% of viewers watching four or more episodes at once. Notably, foreign content has particularly high binge rates on Amazon Prime and Netflix; these shows might have smaller audiences compared to some of the global behemoths we’ve mentioned, but those who watch appear to be very highly engaged.
25% of viewers watching four or more episodes at once.Aaron Frank, SVP of Research and Insights
Why is all of this important for brands? Well, in the non-ad supported OTT space their best hope of commanding viewer eyeballs is product integration, working with show producers to seamlessly integrate their products into the content so it creates a greater sense of realism around the world in which the show characters inhabit. A smart brand will collaborate with a show to create an integration that enhances a particular storyline, thus ensuring it captures the attention of the viewer. A really smart brand will go one step further and develop an integration that plays out across multiple episodes, taking advantage of binge-watching to effectively give its product several hours of non-stop airtime.