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Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 19;

An Experimental Examination of Binge Watching and Narrative Engagement

Department of Communication, Trinity University, 1 Trinity Place, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan, North Quadrangle, 105 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285, USA
Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research, 426 Thompson St, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 5 January 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Always On Anywhere: Streaming Television and Its Effects)
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Increasingly, audiences are engaging with media narratives through the practice of binge watching. The effects of binge watching are largely unknown, although early research suggests binge watching may be motivated by a need for escape and could be associated with some qualities of addiction. In this study, we ask whether the practice of binge watching impacts audience engagement with a media narrative. Using an experimental approach, we manipulate the format of exposure to media narratives (binge or nonbinge) and test the effect of this manipulation on audience engagement, specifically parasocial relationships with favorite characters and narrative transportation. Results suggest that binge watching increases the strength of parasocial relationships and the intensity of narrative transportation. Media engagement has been shown to increase media effects, suggesting that binge watching could change not only how audiences engage with narrative media but also the effect it has on them. View Full-Text
Keywords: binge watching; narrative transportation; parasocial relationships; media engagement; narrative engagement; streaming television binge watching; narrative transportation; parasocial relationships; media engagement; narrative engagement; streaming television

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Erickson, S.E.; Dal Cin, S.; Byl, H. An Experimental Examination of Binge Watching and Narrative Engagement. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 19.

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