Tue, Jun 11, 2019 - Page 6 News List

One in five viewers call in sick to binge-watch shows

The Guardian

Gina Mingacci, left, and Lee Morris pose with their Peabody Award for Killing Eve in the press room at the 78th Peabody Awards at Cipriani Wall Street in New York on May 18.

Photo: AP

Calling in sick to work is usually associated with hangovers, holidays and actual illnesses, but binge-watching TV shows now accounts for a sizeable share of sickies, as more people race through programs than ever before.

According to a Radio Times survey of 5,500 people, 18 percent said they had specifically called in sick so they could watch TV at home.

The advent of the binge-watch came in 2013, when Netflix allowed viewers to watch the entire first series of House of Cards in one go — although it is unknown whether anyone actually raced through all the episodes in one marathon sitting.

Since then, shows such as Orange is the New Black and Breaking Bad have done similar, with Black Mirror, Fleabag and Killing Eve following suit and appearing to radically alter TV-viewing patterns.

Whether people in the UK are watching more TV than ever remains unclear, given the drastic shift in the way people watch shows, but people feel pressure to stay up to date with the latest programs.

Twenty-three percent of respondents confessed to having lied about seeing a program in order to fit in because everyone else was talking about it.

Meanwhile, half of TV viewers surveyed said they had binged more than eight hours of a show in one sitting, while three-quarters said they had binged more than four hours consecutively.

That figure rose to 80 percent for those who attested to having lost sleep to keep watching a program.

Researchers have previously found that binge-watchers are more likely to report anxiety, high stress and depression.

“The rise of the streaming giants from the US and the traditional British broadcasters’ adoption of streaming and catch-up services has fundamentally changed the way we consume TV,” RadioTimes.com editorial director Tim Glanfield said.

“For many, the idea of waiting a week for a new episode or a year for a new series is the exception rather than the rule in 2019. Being able to discover and then devour hours [if not days] worth of one show all at once is the new norm,” he said.

“The survey results illustrate that however and whenever we consume it, great-quality TV will always be something that we can’t get enough of … although I cannot endorse losing sleep or bunking off work, however big that end-of-series cliffhanger is!” he said.

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