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What We Have Learned From Binge TV

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"Hi! My name is America, and I have a binging problem!" This is one addiction that we, as Americans, seem all too happy to have. The rise in the ability to live-stream, cut-the-cord and go mobile have not, as once was predicted, killed TV.

We may not plop down on the couch at the exact same time each week to catch a favorite show, but we are consuming television like never before. The phrase "like never before" actually has a double meaning, as we are watching more television than ever before and watching those hours of television in ways we never have before.

Amazon's trend-stalker Rena Lunak sat down to share her insights on the impact of all of that binging:

Our willingness to watch a season over a weekend or pull an all-nighter to cram in the new season of Amazon Original Transparent or Netflix summer hit Stranger Things is not the only thing that has changed.

18002-Netflix-Hooked-chartThe network myth of the almighty pilot may be just that, a myth.

Netflix recently did research that shows people do not really have a "love at first sight" connection to their favorite shows. 

The streaming giant found some of the hottest shows took four, sometimes eight, episodes before watchers felt those glowing pangs of fandom. 

Data shows it took eight episodes before viewers were hooked on How I Met Your Mother, while the quirky Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt did it in just four. Even the classics didn't equal instant attraction; most people were not "hooked" until sometime between episodes six and eight.

Not all shows turned out to be slow burners: Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead fans were hooked by the second episode.

"Seventy percent of viewers who watched the 'hook' episode went on to complete season one," according to Netflix

The last little binge insight we will share is that it turns out binging is not all bad! The University of Aberdeen has proof that all of that TV viewing (whether it's on mobile, computer, streaming or just plain old fashion boob-tube watching) can be good for our relationships. Aberdeen's paper, titled "Let’s stay home and watch TV: The benefits of shared media use for close relationships," shows couples "enhance interdependence" by watching TV shows together. Researchers found TV programs actually created strong bonds for couples that don't share friends or run in the same social circles.

The time spent sharing the world of TV characters creates a sort of shared peer group and shared experience. Researchers call it "self-expansion."  People incorporate aspects of their partner into their own personality through common interests and friendships, which give them a sense of closeness and love. It turns out that a common show, and connections with common characters in those shows, form those same shared bonds.

Now that whole binging-without-your-partner being taboo makes more sense, right!?! Thanks to the University of Aberdeen study, we now know that it's like throwing a party with friends and not inviting your mate! 

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