Entertainment

No more ‘binge-watching?’ Actor says Netflix told him to not use the term

Guy Pearce speaks at the “When We Rise” panel at the Disney/ABC portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. The star of “The Innocents” series on Netflix says he was told not to say “binge-watching” while promoting the show.
Guy Pearce speaks at the “When We Rise” panel at the Disney/ABC portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. The star of “The Innocents” series on Netflix says he was told not to say “binge-watching” while promoting the show. Invision/Associated Press

Netflix, the streaming service that virtually created the act of “binge-watching,” now apparently wants to take those words right out of our mouths.

“I don’t think Netflix likes the term ‘binge,’” actor Guy Pearce, star of the Netflix series “The Innocents,” said in a recent intervew with The Empire Film Podcast.

“When we did the promotion (in the United States) ... we were strictly sort of instructed beforehand not to talk about ‘binge-watching.’”

Irony, thy name is Netflix?

“Ever since Netflix entered the original television game with the debut of ‘House of Cards’ in February 2013, the term ‘binge-watching’ has become the default word to describe the act of streaming multiple episodes of a series in a short period of time,” writes the movie website IndieWire.

“The streaming giant singlehandedly popularized the act of binge-watching.”

Back in the day, people criticized Netflix for encouraging binge-watching by releasing an entire season of “House of Cards” all at once. And it took the heat.

“It would have happened anyway,” the show’s executive producer Dana Brunetti, told CNBC in 2016. “I think we helped accelerate it.”

Netflix and “binge-watch” were linked forever when the phrase entered the Oxford Dictionary in 2014.

“Use of the word binge-watch has shown a steady increase over the past two years, with notable spikes in usage recorded around the Netflix releases of ‘House of Cards Season Two’ in February 2014 and ‘Orange Is the New Black Season Two’ in June 2014,” the dictionary wrote in August 2014.

So where has the love gone?

“Though the rise of Netflix popularized the term ‘binge-watching’ to describe how the company’s subscribers tended to consume multiple episodes of a series in one sitting, Netflix now appears to have soured on the phrase,” writes Business Insider, which unsuccessfully sought comment from the streaming service.

When technology blog Engadget heard what Pearce said it did a quick Twitter search and found that Netflix has “reduced use of the term of the last year or so.”

Pearce didn’t say why Netflix asked him and his co-stars not to say binge-watch, but the phrase has had detractors in the past, according to IndieWire.

“While the term ‘binge-watching’ refers specifically to television, the word has proven troublesome with some people since ‘binge’ can also be used to describe disorders such as binge-eating and binge-drinking,” according to the movie website.

Netflix might try to dump the phrase, but it’s doubtful it can unglue all those butts from the sofa.

In a YouGov survey last year, 58 percent of all Americans said they have binge-watched something - and a whopping 72 percent of those people said they prefer it as their regular way to watch TV.

They like the immediate gratification, they like avoiding spoilers and they like seeing an entire story all at once, survey respondents said.

Plus - are you listening, Netflix? - a third of those sofa-surfers said binge-watching just makes them “happy.”

Queer Eye Season 2 trailer from Netflix.

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