By Netflix’s very nature, binge watching is very much a phenomenon. Further, the practice is encouraged by the way entire TV show seasons not only arrive in full after airing on various networks, but they also almost universally land that way as Netflix Originals. The streaming service’s format practically solidified the use of “binge watching” in the cultural lexicon, but is Netflix actively fighting the term behind the scenes? According to Guy Pearce (star of The Innocents, one of Netflix’s many new series), the answer is yes.
This might seem strange after — way back in 2013 — a press release entitled “Netflix Declares Binge Watching Is The New Normal” was unleashed by Netflix to promote House of Cards (one of the platform’s first Original series), but here’s what Pearce said to the Empire Film Podcast, via IndieWire:
“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.'”
Pearce didn’t elaborate much further or clarify whether Netflix wanted to replace “binge watching” with a preferred term. Yet one wonders whether the sudden (alleged) aversion to the word “binge” might have something to do with another new Netflix series — the much maligned Insatiable — which drew backlash for its apparently trivial treatment of eating disorders, which include “binge” eating. Maybe? That’s a stretch of a guess, but much else makes sense regarding Pearce’s claim. Because binge watching is clearly good business for Netflix.