Entertainment

Weekly vs. Binge Watching: Where the World Stands

Data indicates Russian, South Korean and Chinese consumers are the biggest proponents of binge watching

binge watching
Streaming platforms are still trying to figure out the best way to release episodes. Many consumers around the world say they generally prefer watching more than one episode per day. (Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Anna Davis)

Global Streaming: By the Numbers

As streaming services look to combat slowing U.S. subscriber growth and churn in an increasingly competitive landscape, many have made major investments in international markets in hopes of keeping the revenue flowing. In Morning Consult’s latest entertainment series, reporter Sarah Shevenock takes a close look at the streaming habits of consumers from around the world, including China, Mexico, India and more.

Other stories in the series: How Much Consumers in Each Country Pay for Streaming | How Gen Z Streams TV Around the World | Consumers in Every Country Prefer Streaming With Ads if It Means a Cheaper Bill Global Streaming Users Say Pricing Options, User-Friendly Interface Are Even More Important Than Content

Netflix Inc. trained the world to devour a new TV series in a single sitting. Now, with so many other streaming services releasing episodes all at once, binge watching has become a regular activity that many consumers cherish. 

But as these services experiment with different release strategies (some have even reemphasized the more traditional weekly release), new Morning Consult data indicates that there’s no one-size-fits-all global approach to consuming content. Watching 2-3 episodes per day, however, is the most popular option for consumers in many countries.

Russian, South Korean and Chinese Consumers Are the World’s Biggest Binge Watchers

Respondents were asked how they prefer to watch TV episodes on streaming services

Surveys conducted March 3-8, 2022, among a representative sample of 999-2,211 adults in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, with an unweighted margin of error of +/- 2-3 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
What the numbers say 
  • Consumers in Russia, South Korea and China showed the greatest preference for binge watching as slightly more than 1 in 5 adults in each country said they try to watch every episode of a show in one day when a streaming platform releases all of a series’ episodes at once. 
  • Japanese adults were the least into binge watching and most committed to weekly watching, as 51% said they will still watch only one episode a week, even if all episodes are available to them. 
  • Just 14% of U.S. consumers said they try to watch an entire series in one day, while 34% said they like to watch two or three episodes each day, the most popular option among Americans and consumers in 10 of the other countries that were surveyed.
  • In Germany, France and Mexico, adults were roughly split between preferring to watch one episode a week and viewing two to three per day. For Brazilians, watching more than three episodes — but not an entire series — was the most popular viewing option. 
The impact 

Netflix made consumers accustomed to the binge-watching model when it broke the mold by releasing all of its series’ episodes at once, a move most other streaming services soon followed. For engaged fan bases, it made the traditional seven-day wait between new episodes on linear TV feel like an eternity. But the data shows that, while some consumers have fully embraced the all-at-once release strategy, many others around the world are fine with some moderation, which reflects more recent trends in the industry. 

Disney+ and Apple TV+ favor a weekly cadence, while Hulu and HBO Max have used a combination of the two strategies, releasing multiple episodes when a series premieres before shifting to weekly drops. 

Even Netflix has altered its strategy in recent months, releasing select shows, including the reality TV series “Love Is Blind” and “The Ultimatum,” over the course of several weeks. Platforms are likely to continue experimenting in the hopes of finding a sweet spot for their release cadences, though the data makes clear that different markets prefer different approaches. 

Surveys conducted March 3-8, 2022, among a representative sample of 999-2,211 adults in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2-3 percentage points.

Morning Consult