Netflix executives apparently don't like their talent using the term "binge watching," according to Guy Pearce. The term "binge watching" has been around for several years now, with its widespread usage primarily rooted in the popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The phrase also reflects the most common mindset associated with how people view streaming services.
In 2014, Netflix surveyed viewers to find that 61% of those surveyed binge watch regularly. The same study found that 73% of the people surveyed defined binge watching as "watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting." While the term "binge" at one point was primarily associated with binge drinking or binge eating, it has quickly become associated with Netflix and company, which makes sense given that new seasons for the vast majority of their TV shows are made available all at once, thus allowing people to watch all the episodes in one or two sittings.
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In a recent interview with Empire, Guy Pearce was asked about whether people would binge watch his new Netflix show, The Innocents. In response, Pearce said, "People do, but I don't think Netflix likes the term 'binge'. When we did the promotion for [The Innocents] in the [United States], we were strictly sort of instructed beforehand not to talk about 'binge watching'." According to Pearce, they were not instructed to use another term in place of binge watching, such as "marathon watching." They were simply told what to avoid.
The Innocents has only been on Netflix for a few days, but reviews show it as a quick-moving and ever-twisting series. Compare this with Netflix's other recent young adult series, Insatiable, and the harsh reviews it received, The Innocents could prove to fill a binge watching - or marathon viewing - gap for some subscribers of the streaming service. In addition, the focus on teenagers experiencing a strange science fiction storyline could lend itself to the many fans who are eagerly awaiting Netflix's massive hit, Stranger Things, which will not be returning until next summer.
Regardless, it is interesting to see the streaming service warn its actors against using language that is so ingrained in the conversation surrounding Netflix. With the phrase's origins coming from places of addictive struggles such as binge drinking and binge eating, avoiding the phrase does make some sense. Yet, the conversation around the streaming giant has become so prevalent in discussions of television series and movies that the phrase "bingeing" may be more associated with the new season of Luke Cage than eating or drinking in peoples' minds. Despite this, Netflix appears to want to avoid the term, and it will be interesting to see if anything further is done to avoid its usage down the line.