Watching an episode of your favorite series in the evening to fall asleep and realize that it is already morning and that we have watched almost an entire season. Who hasn’t happened to at least once? The giants of the sector know this and see a gold pit in TV series addiction.
A well within which the streaming business, in recent years, is giving rise to increasingly exorbitant figures. Certainly, the big leaders in this sector, such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon and Disney, have been attracting an increasing number of subscribers for some time.
Recently, however, the consumption of these types of audiovisual products has become a part of our lifestyle so deeply and so quietly that it has gone completely unnoticed.
They are our topic of daily conversation. They have a certain echo on social networks, they are the way we spend part of our free time. Watching television series is the kind of activity we do with our partner, with family, with friends and even alone.
Now, the impact that this phenomenon has on us on a psychological level gives rise to an equally interesting reality. We are going to analyze it.
What is behind the addiction to TV series?
A few months ago half the world was fascinated by the Chess Queen series . The phenomenon was of such a magnitude that interest in the world of chess has increased exponentially, to the point of leading to the exhaustion of many shops that were involved in the sale of this game. In addition to that, this Christmas, one of the most requested gifts was undoubtedly Baby Yoda following the release of The Mandalorian series .
We are currently enjoying another streaming television series, Bridgerton . As we can see, periodically the media reality is renewed with new stories, themes, characters and groups of fans (fandoms).
All these audiovisual creations constitute a turnover that has only come to stay. We are only at the beginning, but the implications that derive from this are already many. Let’s deepen the topic.
The world of entertainment has changed
Disney, in 2019, has calculated that by 2024 it will reach between 60 million and 90 million subscribers. The data suggests it might succeed. With productions like The Mandalorian and, in particular with the animated film Soul , an aspect that was already almost evident came to the surface: you don’t need to go to the cinema to enjoy some entertainment; now we find entertainment at home.
Netflix, for example, has achieved over 40 Golden Globe nominations with its series and has already earned Academy Awards for its own productions.
The giants also know that small screens – television, PC, tablet or mobile phone – already contain everything we need to have fun, alone or in company. Cinemas have been relegated to a secondary role.
Series addiction and binge watching
The series marathon, or binge watching , is an increasingly consolidated practice among the population. Watching a season in one go, spending a weekend watching (or reviewing) series, or losing hours of sleep because we can’t stop watching a series, is all very common.
Some studies, such as the one conducted in 2017 by the University of Luxembourg, had already raised the alarm on a potential new form of addiction. Furthermore, even if sometimes we cannot speak of an addiction disorder as such, we are faced with a practice to which we dedicate a large part of our time for several reasons:
- It is a useful mechanism to relieve daily stress and anxiety.
- We “attach” to a series because we often emotionally identify with the characters and their stories.
- Series addiction is mainly due to the brain’s production of dopamine. When this organ identifies this activity as a pleasant pastime, then it pushes us to repeat it with increasing intensity, so that we can obtain the same level of gratification.
- We cannot forget the domino effect. We often find ourselves watching a series because it was recommended to us or because everyone is talking about it.
Competition between platforms and pressure on the consumer
The streaming audiovisual entertainment industry is currently in a war between titans. The goal is to grab members and assume the role of undisputed leader.
On its own, this isn’t a problem for consumers, for in the midst of this battle of titles and productions, he’s forced to choose which (or which) platforms to sign up to, based on his budget.
Those who subscribe to all the platforms currently available will go against a considerable monthly expense. For example, right now, the United States can count on over 300 streaming services and the current situation makes us think that in the coming months / years the number will continue to grow.
In any case, there is an obvious aspect. If until a few decades ago the radio was the everyday companion of most homes, then, around the 1950s, when television made its entrance, the latter became the real protagonist. With the arrival of the new millennium, then, the Internet, smart TVs and devices such as computers, tablets and mobile phones have become our daily bread.
There is no doubt that TV series addiction is currently a reflection of an escape mechanism. We are looking for emotional gratification from these productions, which become a means to escape from a difficult context determined, as is evident, by the current pandemic.
At this point, it’s important to understand that these platforms are a means of entertainment, not a lifestyle. We don’t let the days go by consuming other people’s stories, instead of creating our own.