In this day and age of microblogging, distracting smartphones, 140-character tweets, and compulsive multitasking, it seems a little backward that one of the top post-workday hobbies of young folks is to become completely engrossed in the complicated storylines of Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards for hours on end.
A new type of consumer has evolved in recent years—the love child of the Couch Potato and the Channel Surfer, raised by streaming devices and nurtured by entire seasons of shows available at the click of a remote.
For just a few dollars a months, subscribers to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video have access to thousands of streaming movies and TV shows updated regularly. And with Netflix’s new post-play feature, which prompts viewers to play the next episode just as the credits of the last one begin rolling, it’s easier than ever to succumb to the captivating lure of Walter White and Frank Underwood.
Indeed, the birth of the “binge-watcher” has been an intriguing, unexpected development in the past five years. Neuroscience, it turns out, can partially explain the phenomenon.