Friday, October 10, 2014

How Streaming Media has Changed Our Viewing Habits

By now this subject is played-out; a million people (or so it seems) have discussed it ad nauseam across the Web, on TV, and probably in print (although we, like most everyone else, wouldn't know about that). However, it's very much in keeping with the theme of this blog and I became aware of my own entertainment consumption while we've been working on the site. The thrust of this post includes all forms of electronic entertainment - or, better yet, entertainment available through electronic means - so that includes audio (music), film (TV/movies), literature, video games, tabletop RPG, and more.

While "binge-watching" has become a buzzword for advertisers, this habit cannot be said to have originated with streaming media consumption, as cable networks have been running "marathons" of TV shows and movie franchises for years. It has become a predominant TV-viewing habit amongst the streaming media set, though. Part of that has to do with new season releases, as they are released at once and not as individual episodes, as well as the fact that many streaming media sites and set-tops feature "autoplay" settings that tend to play the next sequential episode if activated.

Still, it's hard not to "binge-watch" television these days, as many of the cult classics amongst the Netizenry, which comprises the majority of streaming viewers, have a unique flavor that demands a certain mindset to best appreciate, despite similarities. Once you "catch that wave," you tend to want to ride it out - to indulge your flight of fancy. For example, I am now re-watching Arrested Development in its entirety though I began by watching the last season first.

This is an interesting selection to highlight as it was canceled years ago and recently revived by Netflix, a leading distributor of streaming media. With streaming media devices such as Roku, many of these providers' libraries are available to view on owners' TVs, tablets, and other devices. Now that a precedent has been set which proves that cult classics such as Arrested Development can return after several years of dormancy to relative fanfare and success over streaming media, more relaunches are being eyed both by streaming media networks as well as traditional ones that are steadily increasing and improving their online presences in the already too-crowded field.

It was the "binge-watching" mentality which this show, along with other, modern "cult classics" available via streaming media, tend to induce within me that most intrigued me. Part of it is a conditioning by years of cable network programming but part of it is also the indulgence in the product - noticing the inside jokes, appreciating the running jokes and callbacks, and being in the frame of mind that allows you to do so.

© The Weirding, 2014

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