Our TV-watching schedules used to be determined by what was on, when. Thankfully, that's no longer the case: we watch the TV we want in our beds, in our baths, on the Tube each morning. In fact, recent research we did as part of our Go Binge files report found that 20% of us are binge-watching on our commutes every day. Totally awesome... until you're so engrossed in your show you stay on the Tube for an extra hour by accident. Here's what you need to watch out for when streaming on the go.
Watching TV used to be a somewhat prescriptive exercise: you had to watch at home, you had to watch in the sitting room (or wherever your television was), you had to watch when the programme you wanted to see would be on.
We don’t need to tell you how dramatically things have changed over the past several years.
Thanks to streaming services like Netflix and phones with ever-more-impressive screens, our smartphones have become our portable television sets, allowing us to watch television and movies anywhere (and with anyone – don’t miss our guide on how to successfully binge-watch without destroying your relationship).
We mean anywhere: people are watching TV at work (86% of people bingeing on TV told us they prefer to do it after lunch), in transit, in the park, even in the loo (1 in 5 people admitted to binge-watching shows on the toilet. Just don’t drop your phone. Disgusting yet fascinating). And proof that there’s nowhere we won’t watch TV, nowadays.
One of the most popular places to get cosy with our screens is on our morning and evening work commutes: 20% of people turned a potentially boring and exhausting daily commute into an exciting streaming session. Who cares if you’re sandwiched and sweaty next to 200 other people when you’re engrossed in the twisted high school world of Pretty Little Liars?
Since we’ve become the experts on all things streaming, carrying out an extensive nationwide report known as the Binge Files, we thought we’d take all our knowledge, gleaned from interviewing thousands of streamers across the UK about their TV and music consumption habits, and turn it into something you’d enjoy: Go Binge.
Go Binge lets you stream music and movies from Deezer, SoundCloud, Netflix and TVPlayer non-stop, without needing to worry about eating into your data plan. Which means continuous streaming on your way to work.
Are you a commuter who streams? Here are some of the pitfalls you’ll need to watch out for…
Missing your stop because of a particularly engrossing scene
Streaming while you commute is an art form, whether you’re rocking a not-at-all-conspicuous cardboard Binge Box on your head or trying to quickly finish series 4 of OITNB so you can get started on series 5 ASAP.
But one of the dangers of watching a beloved show on your way to work is… forgetting where you are and where you’re going (a testament to your commute no longer being the worst part of your day thanks to streaming, and instead becoming one of your favourite bits). So enjoy the journey, but remember to occasionally look up from your phone to find out where you are so you can actually make it to work on time. Unless you’re trying to sneak an extra journey in so that you can watch a whole other episode of your fave programme… In which case, #respect.
Terrifying everyone in your Tube carriage with your watching prefs
We don’t believe in criticising your TV-bingeing choices (you should see the list of recommended shows we get from Netflix), but there is a time and a place for a particularly risqué bedroom scene (hello, House of Cards!) and we’re thinking that time and place is probably not at 7:45 AM on a heaving bus or Tube, with people looking over both of your shoulders.
Similar shows to avoid in public? Anything that terrifies you – save the blood-curdling Stranger Things-induced screams for when you’re safely in bed at home. Also: nude scenes, graphic murder and anything liable to make you scream in abject terror are all best avoided (here are our top tips for improving your phone etiquette, in case you’ve forgotten that violently sobbing from a TV show onto the shoulder of the poor commuter next to you isn’t wildly inappropriate behaviour). Go for fun and lighthearted entertainment to improve your journey – and not traumatise anyone else on theirs.
In fact, use this recent global research from Netflix as a guide to help you figure out what to watch, when: viewers like to consume comedy for breakfast (around 6AM, viewers are 34% more likely to watch comedy compared to the rest of the day), drama is popular between noon and 2PM and thrillers are best enjoyed in the evening hours (they’re 27% more popular from 9PM).
Picking shows that are the wrong length for your journey
Not all of us have daily commutes designed for binge-watching the mobile equivalent of War and Peace. Which is semi-devastating and making us contemplate a move somewhere further into the country to counteract this.
Until that happens, time your commute well: if you’ve only got 30 minutes, don’t download a three-hour flick and then feel remorseful that you won’t be able to watch it in full – pick a bite-sized episode of 80s wrestler hit GLOW or catch the kooky Tina Fey comedy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, instead.
If your commute is around 60 minutes, then choose something longer-but-not-epic, like OITNB or The Crown to keep the boredom at bay. And if you’re looking at 90 minutes to 2 hours+ on the train, we feel for you. Watch anything you want – you’re certainly entitled to.
Whatever you’re into, the possibilities for binge-watching are infinite. Thankfully your journey time isn’t.
Main pic: Getty via Caroline Purser