The DVR made it possible for viewers to record an entire season’s worth of a show, to be watched in big gulps later. Some viewers even record a whole season of a new show without watching a single episode until they’re all recorded. If they don’t like the first episode they abandon the series. If they do, they spend a weekend binge viewing.
But binge-viewing threatens to shake up television’s status quo. Along with the DVR, it’s another harbinger of the end of the time-honored network schedule, when executives dictated when viewers could watch a favorite show, said Jeffrey Cole, director of the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future.
“It’s the viewer saying, ‘I will watch it how I want to watch it — in some cases without commercials,’” Cole said. “It’s television on my terms.”