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.
Erickson, S. E., Dal Cin, S., & Byl, H. (2019). An experimental examination of binge watching and narrative engagement. Social Sciences, 8(1), 19. doi: 10.3390/socsci8010019
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