Netflix Offerings Continue to Fuel Binge-Watching Trend

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Netflix executives hope the recently released "Gilmore Girls," featuring Lauren Graham (left) and Alexis Bledel, will become another binge-watching favorite.

One of the more successful inventions of the online age is Netflix.

It started as a website where customers paid an upfront monthly fee and received rented titles in their mail. After a while, online instant streaming and “Netflix Originals” became available to subscribers.

According to the New York Times, once prosperous movie rental chains like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster owe their downfall to Netflix.

“The announcement amounted to a surrender: a statement that Netflix, symbolized by its little red envelopes and more recently its streaming service, had prevailed over the little blue boxes that Blockbuster VHS tapes and DVDs came in,” New York Times reporter Brian Stelter writes.

San Jacinto College Central Campus student London Morales says college students enjoy the comfort the company’s digital streaming allows.

“I think Netflix has become so popular because it’s so convenient,” Morales says. “Netflix gives you the option to watch so many popular shows and movies without having to leave the comfort of your bed.”

However, Morales says the convenience can create addictive behavior that leads to interruptions in students’ studies.

“It can become a huge distraction, especially if you start binge-watching shows,” Morales says.

The Oxford Dictionary defines binge-watching as “watch[ing] multiple episodes (of a television program) in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming.” The act has become synonymous with Netflix and its counterparts.

Like most innovations, success breeds imitation. After Netflix had begun streaming online, websites like HuluPlus and Amazon Instant Video became available.

With multiple video streaming options to choose from, BuisnessInsider.com looked at all three choices, weighed each of the pros and cons, and concluded, “If you’re just looking for TV and movies, we’re leaning towards Netflix as the best choice.”

Moreover, many Netflix subscribers use the website instead of cable television in order to catch up on the shows they missed, or want to revisit.

“I know some people rely heavily in Netflix to get caught up on popular shows if they don’t have cable, or aren’t available to watch shows at their time slot,” Morales says. “It is possible that some networks are catching on to this trend and extending the story lines of their shows.”

While Netflix is producing its own programming like “Orange in the New Black,” “House of Cards,” and “Hemlock Grove,” shows that are no longer on the air are also available. Morales and other students can watch “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Office” when and where they want.

Meanwhile, like the exclusive release of “Gilmore Girls” earlier this month, Netflix is constantly adding and removing titles.

Morales says she hopes the streaming giant will add “Friends” and “Veronica Mars” soon. When they do add “Friends,” Netflix subscribers like Morales may become even further addicted to the binge-watching lifestyle.