Defining new viewing behaviours: What makes and motivates TV binge-watching? | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-4182
  • E-ISSN: 2040-4190



The term ‘binge watching’ is common in popular media and is one of several new ways of TV viewing that capitalizes on the wide availability of digital video and streaming services. However, the term lacks clear conceptualization, and the underlying motivations associated with it remain under-explored. Results from eleven focus groups of university students in the United States suggest binge watching is characterized as viewing suspenseful dramatic, narrative content for a considerable amount of time: often more than three or four hours. Analyses revealed four emergent motivations that contribute to individuals binge watching: (1) anticipation of what was coming next – facilitated by both content and technology features, (2) management of moods and excitement/ arousal, (3) procrastination and escapism, (4) social goals – related to both co-viewing, discussing content with others and identification with characters. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.


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