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Canadians Smarter Binge TV Viewers Than Americans (Study)

Netflix House of Cards United States - H 2013

As "House of Cards" returns to Netflix, a Canadian anthropologist studying the evolution of marathon TV consumption concludes Canucks are more critical viewers.

TORONTO – Canadians are smarter TV viewers than Americans.

At least, that's the finding of Canadian cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken after he was hired by Netflix to study American and Canadian binge TV watching, which the U.S. streaming giant regards as the "new normal."

Around 61 percent of about 1,500 TV streamers polled said they watched at least two or three episodes back-to-back in one sitting every few weeks.

McCracken, while studying the evolution of binge viewing for Netflix, said Canadians and Americans are more passionate about shows they watch online than traditional couch potatoes who depend on the primetime grid for programming choices.

But McCracken observed that Canadians watching TV astride the American colossus are just that much more engaged about analyzing what they view when streaming on their tablet and laptop, or consuming full-season DVD sets.

"Even a small remove helps sharpen the critical eye," McCracken told The Hollywood Reporter. "I think it's significant, but I don't have the statistical data to say so."

Binge viewers, McCracken observed, far from zoning out, do two things at once. They engage in marathon viewing sessions with their favorite shows while also analyzing both critically and creatively what they view.

"I found that binge watching has really taken off due to a perfect storm of better TV, our current economic climate and the digital explosion of the last few years," said McCracken.