On-demand TV is creating infidelity

  • AFP
  • |
  • Updated: May 22, 2013 13:42 IST

A woman seducing her partner. (Photo courtesy: Shutterstock)

A survey has found that 61 percent of women and 51 percent of men admit to cheating on their partners by secretly watching extra episodes of TV shows they're meant to be watching together as a couple. A study commissioned by a company that offers time-shift and on-demand TV viewing should always be taken with a pinch of salt but, nevertheless, the results of the Netflix survey make for interesting reading.

As well as highlighting the fact that an increasingly connected and on-demand society seems to be eroding consumers patience -- gone are the times when a whole week passed between two episodes of a must-see show -- it also shows how devices like tablets and smartphones are aiding this TV infidelity. Nearly 10 percent of men claimed to sneakily watch extra episodes via a mobile device while using the toilet, a practice called ‘stream cheating' and one that 6 percent of women also admitted to.

What's also revealing is that although how programs are consumed is evolving, TV shows are still a major source of arguments between couples. Of the 2000 cohabiting UK adults interviewed for the survey, over 50 percent say that they arrange to watch episodes of a TV show together and that when one partner goes behind the other's back to watch extra episodes and is caught, the act contributes to on average two arguments a week. What's more one third of all respondents admitted frustration at the fact that their partner will sit up late watching extra episodes of a show rather than coming to bed.

Not surprisingly, Netflix has built a new online advertising campaign around this new trend for ‘stream cheating', however, two things are clear -- firstly that "viewing by appointment" will soon disappear as a concept for everything but live events such as the UEFA Champions League Final or the Oscars, and that despite the rise of alternatives like YouTube, for the most part, consumers are still experiencing a golden age of television where some of the most exciting and challenging stories are being told on the small, rather than the big screen.

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