Students binge-watch in spare time

Amy Kessler

Every Tuesday, Britnie Badanjek opens up Funimation—a TV streaming website—and watches nine episodes of “Karneval.”

Two days later, she watches seven episodes of “Black Butler: Book of Circus.”

Badanjek, a junior communication studies major, along with many other students, has engaged herself in the major epidemic called binge-watching.

“I really get sucked into stories and I tend to get attached to characters very easily,” Badanjek said.

Binge watching is the act of repeatedly watching TV shows in rapid succession.

In a recent Fortune article, about 70 percent of Americans have binge-watched an average of five shows at a time.

“It (the TV show) has to have some sort of mass appeal because people routinely report that the reasons they watch shows in a binge-type manner is because they are afraid to miss out on conversations either face-to-face or online,” said James Ponder, an assistant professor of communication studies at Kent State.

Alexandra Nemeth, a junior managerial marketing major, binge-watches multiple shows on Netflix and Hulu.

Her list includes the following: “Parenthood,” “Gossip Girl,” “One Tree Hill,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Mindy Project.”

Badanjek binge-watches another entertainment show.

“A friend of mine got me into anime and we’ve been binge watching that all the time,” Badanjek said.

Christian Eulinberg, a senior digital sciences major, binge-watches shows—even when he is working on homework.

“I would say (I watch television) between two to three hours a day on average while I do homework,” Eulinberg said.

Ponder said a TV show has to have the capability for the audiences to engage for people to binge watch it.

“Binge watching itself is repeated activity over and over again,” Ponder said. “It has to connect with its fans and viewers at some level. They (TV shows) have to be interesting or engaging.”

Badanjek explained that she binge watches TV shows because she gets sucked into the stories and gets attached to the characters easily.

“It’s a fun little escape from reality and work and classes,” Badanjek said. “It’s nice to lie in bed and just get to hear a story for several hours.”

Nemeth has a personal connection to a character, which is the reason she binge-watches.

“I’m watching ‘Parenthood’ and I’m really invested with Kristina,” Nemeth said. “She just got diagnosed with breast cancer and some family members had—and have—cancer, so that makes me connect with her.”

Ponder believes people binge-watch TV shows because they can act as a reward for them.

“People routinely engage in binge-watching on Fridays or at the end of the week because they say, ‘I work hard and I’m going to reward myself; I deserve this,’ ” Ponder said.

Eulinberg said the lessons the actresses and actors teach (the viewers) in a show make them binge-worthy.

“I’ve watched ‘How I Met Your Mother’ around 10 times and I like the message that it sent about relationships and falling in love and friendships,” Eulinberg said. “I think that’s why so many people loved watching ‘Boy Meets World’ when we were younger: because it taught us life facts and that growing up is full of challenges.”

Amy Kessler is a consumer technology reporter. Contact her at [email protected]