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A New Era of Binge-Watching

Written by: Olga Kraineva
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The act of binging is nothing new. TV marathons have been around for ages, but thanks to Netflix and Hulu at our fingertips we’re now indulging in entire seasons to the point of potential overconsumption.

Walt Disney Pictures / Via newyorkz.tumblr.com

Some media outlets are beginning to expose an emerging entertainment trend suggesting consumers are exhausted by the ability to binge-watch and would prefer to wait to see what happens next. They allude to the dawn of a new era, or perhaps a reversion to a past time when TV watching was an event people looked forward to: “the age of anticipation.” This is especially apparent for dramas with a lot of cliffhangers.

What consumers miss with binge-watching is a feeling of community, of water cooler moments where people can dissect what just happened and speculate together. Consumers are also unable to think about TV show storylines in an in-depth manner when they’re speeding through them. With the freedom to watch on your time at your pace comes a loss of togetherness. Some research even indicates that binge-watching can cause feelings of depression and loneliness.

While this may be a side effect, it cannot be denied that binging is addictive and has proliferated the market, especially among technology natives like millennials and Gen Zers. What’s interesting to note is consumers are using their ability to binge as a way to discover new shows and not merely catch up on their favorites. When you hear that a show is good from multiple sources, you’re intrigued to watch for yourself.

Networks and MSO’s are taking notes. Turner is working with Comcast to make all 15 of their original programs available via on demand. Steve Meyer, vice president of video strategy and analysis at Comcast Cable, said, “The numbers suggest that people are discovering programs several weeks after they first hit linear television but want to be able to start them from the first episode.”

In October 2014, PBS digitally released the entire “The Roosevelts” series and found “most viewers used the digital availability to play catch-up with the series and then joined the linear broadcast to be part of a broader community of fans.”

Lifetime recently released the first four episodes of their newest drama, “UnReal,” to stream on demand or to download for free on iTunes directly after the premiere. Meaning, fans of the first episode were able to binge-watch the next three episodes immediately. The network gambled on potentially lower numbers for episodes 2-4 in return for word-of-mouth and hopes to turn more viewers on to the show. And, it paid off. Episodes 5 and 6 had the greatest conversations since the premiere. While some viewers were upset they had to wait three weeks until episode 5, this allowed word about the series to spread and the show to gain momentum halfway through the season.

The bottom line: the growing desire to get back to the age of anticipation means binge-watching – while still relevant – is shifting in consumers’ end goal. Binge-watching is helping people discover more quality content. It’s the networks’ decision whether they want to choose digital and linear broadcast in parallel and potentially compromise live views.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Pinterest First Ads Go Live
Last month, Pinterest announced its plans to begin experimenting with its first paid advertising product, Promoted Pins. The first of those advertisements went live for some users this week. Promoted Pins operate much like Twitter’s Promoted Tweets and Facebook’s Promoted ad products. Businesses will pay to show certain pins at the top of search results and category feeds. Ads will be contextual – a search for Halloween might produce an ad from an online costume shop.

Facebook Launches New Version of Insights
This week, Facebook released a new version of Page Insights. The tool’s newest version breaks down engagement and metrics into individual tabs, such as check-ins, likes and the number of people engaged. Managers can also compare these metrics to previous weeks or months to better understand how engagement on their brand page is changing. The update also lets managers view positive and negative interactions side-by-side to determine what content is working well with visitors.

Comcast Subscribers Can Soon Watch TV via Twitter

NBCUniversal and Comcast announced that they have entered into a partnership with Twitter that will let “millions” of Xfiniity TV customers view TV shows and movies via tweets through a new feature called See It. See It will be integrated into a show’s tweet, so that with the click of a button, a user can change the channel on their TVs right away, record a show or even watch the show on their mobile device. The See It button will start showing up in tweets later this year, and will let customers tune into shows online or from set top boxes, set their DVRs and even buy tickets through Fandango.

Snapchat Launches Stories
Stories, Snapchat’s latest invention, is a rolling compilation of snaps from the last 24-hours that your friends can see. You create your Story as you go about your day by tapping “My Story” above the friends you want to send a snap to. But unlike conventional snaps, Stories don’t disappear after you’ve watched them. You can watch a friend’s (or your own) Story over and over. Each Story is the sum of all the snaps that you’ve added over the last 24 hours.

Facebook Simplifies Ad Buying
This week, Facebook unveiled a major overhaul to its basic ad-buying platform, Ads Manager, and its more sophisticated offering, Power Editor, both of which now have a more streamlined interface. The platform now starts by asking advertisers to identify their objectives (sales conversion on a website, increase in mobile app downloads, increase page likes, increase engagement with a FB app, boosting in-store offer, RSVP’s to a Facebook Event, etc.). Once the objective has been identified, Facebook guides advertisers to the most appropriate ad. Users can also now upload multiple images for a single campaign, allowing five different ads to run at once. As part of the new analytics dashboard, they will be able to quickly assess which images are performing best.

Global Social Media

India May Have 91 Million Social Media Users By Year-End
The number of social media users are expected to grow 17% to reach 91 million in urban India by December 2013, on the back of rising Internet penetration due to increasingly affordable smartphones and availability of cost effective data plans. The number of social media users in urban India reached 78 million in June. Facebook is the leading website there, accessed by 96% of all users in the country.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Fruit of the Loom and LinkedIn Team Up For Ad Campaign
Global underwear company Fruit of The Loom will be sending free pairs of cotton underwear to LinkedIn users who have gotten jobs or changed jobs within the last 30 days. This is for the company’s “Fresh Gigs” promotion, which is part of their “Start Happy”campaign.  Eligible LInkedIn users will receive a message that says the company is sending them a complimentary pair of underwear to help kickstart their workday at their “new gig.” The recipients will also be able to select the style and size of their free underwear. They will also be asked if they would like to share the promotion on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The free pair of undies arrive in a gift box after two weeks.

Win Eminem Tickets Using Waze
Waze and Eminem are giving away an all-expenses paid trip for two to a secret location concert as long as you use the app and follow the clues. Although no deadline was announced, beginning immediately Waze users can look for “Shady” and “Gold Shady” pins marked with Shady’s backwards “E.” When tapped, these pins bring users to a sweepstakes URL where they can enter to win Beats by Dre Pill portable speakers and all-expenses paid trip to an Eminem secret-location show.