Jun 11 2020

The one about my streaming addiction

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:40

I have an addictive personality. Or maybe I don’t, but I know that both of my grandfathers were alcoholics and I have two uncles which are alcoholics too, one for each branch of the family. So, I do tend to be afraid that if I’m not careful I will turn into an alcoholic. Fortunately, my addiction of choice is not alcohol. And neither is any other drug. I tried marijuana, I even have access to really good one, but I only have a brownie when I have trouble sleeping. Otherwise I feel no desire for it.

My addiction of choice are books and movies. I like to lose myself in imaginary characters’ lives, because my life was always pretty nasty, and when it stopped being nasty it became dull. I need some freaking excitement, so movies, series and books provide a lot of excitement. I’m not saying that when I was an adolescent I was sacrificing all  my sleep to watch series like X-Files, Star Trek, SeaQuest, Star Gate, Firefly, etc but I did sacrifice a lot of it, and the only thing that stopped me from losing even more sleep was the nature of TV programmes which only provided one episode per day, or per week. But damn, the wait and the anticipation of a new episode made the experience so much better. I did nothing else while watching the episode and payed attention to everything in it. The lights, the symbols, the character’s clothes, hairdos, everything was important. And I hated when episodes were interrupted by commercials.

Then Netflix and Prime and other stream services appeared. And the commercials and the anticipation were gone. Don’t get me wrong, I very much appreciate the lack of commercials. But I hate the fact that the whole series is there to watch. Because at this point, I just want to know how the story goes and how it ends, I just watch the first episodes with enough attention to learn the characters voices, and that is it. After that, the show runs continuously while I do other things. I no longer pay attention to the details, I don’t care about the surroundings of the characters, I just care about the interactions between them and the overall story. I no longer care about how they look, how they dress. And I think I’m missing something, because there are not many new series that I can say they have become my favourite and can mention along the ones that have taken a place in my heart long time ago. There’s just three really:  Altered Carbon, Chernobyl and The Mandalorian. These three are the only series I’ve watched exclusively, without doing anything in parallel. These three are so good that they capture my full attention which means the rest are pretty low in quality which is turn not good for this industry.

Anyway, I lost my train of thought.  This entry was not supposed to be about series and movies I like. This entry is supposed to underline the following: streaming services are very addictive. The problem with them not enforcing moderation is that I sometimes feel I’m so eager to finish a series, I am not even watching it, I’m mostly listening to it. And when I watch it, I feel guilty because I am wasting my time and not getting anything done. I’m far from a worst-case scenario, I am still able to do my job and waste some time here and there. But I imagine there are persons which get sucked into binging worse than I do. I’m sure nobody lost their job because of a streaming addiction, but I am curious how many people realized that a streaming is addictive and decided to cancel it to prevent themselves from wasting time?

I did it for this exact reason. So, Netflix lost a customer. Will I revive my account in the future? Maybe. Just for a month when the new season of Witcher gets released. And maybe for Altered Carbon. But after that I will cancel it again. And sure, you will tell me that there are a lot of other good series, and you might mention some of the Spanish and South American ones. I’m not interested. Those are so close to the telenovelas my mother was addicted to when I was young, that it makes me sick.

I think streaming services should reconsider their approach. If addiction to binging is looked at as an addiction to drugs, you do not want your customers to die of an overdose, you want to give them little quantities of the drug to keep them addicted and alive and functional enough to pay for it.

But, what do I know? I’m no psychologist and I do not own a streaming service after all. Take a look at your habits and make your decision. I made mine.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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