• A person displays Netflix on a tablet in North Andover, Mass. (AAP)
A new study found viewers who watch television on a daily or weekly basis may remember more of what they have seen and enjoy programs more compared with binge watchers.
Riley Morgan

14 Sep - 4:00 PM 

The rise of video-on-demand television such as Netflix and Stan has meant binge watching has become the preferred method of viewing programs for many. 

However, new research from the University of Melbourne, which claims to be the first study of its kind, suggested binge watchers retained less long-term information about a program and enjoyed the content less compared to daily or weekly viewers.

The research, 'The impact of binge watching on memory and perceived comprehension', looked at 51 graduate and undergraduate students who viewed BBC Cold War drama 'The Game'.

Participants were split into three groups and assigned to watch the show's six episodes in a single block, on a daily basis or a weekly basis.

After watching the series, participants filled out short questionnaires - 24 hours, one week and 140 days after the final episode - with results consistently showing participants who binged-watched the show enjoyed 'The Game' less.

One of the lead authors of the research, Dr Jared Horvath, a lecturer at the Science of Learning and Research Centre at the University of Melboune, told SBS World News that retaining information when binge watching may be similar to cramming before an exam.

He said taking in hours of information in such a short period of time does not allow viewers to retain the details in the long-term.

"It falls into the same category now as cramming. If you just shove in a bunch of information in such a short period of time it is really good for about 24 hours, but because you haven't given it enough time to differentiate and for it to sink into your long-term memory, after about two days it fades really quickly," Dr Hovarth told SBS World News.

Compared with daily and weekly viewers, the binge watchers showed the sharpest decline in memory recognition 140 days following the final episode, and also reported lower levels of enjoyment. 

Dr Horvath said that may be due to the use of repetition in shows designed for weekly viewing, a storytelling technique which could irk binge-watchers.

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"The only reason I can conceive of right now has to be how TV shows are told. Alot of people are still producing TV shows thinking they will be released once a week or once a day," he said. 

"So when they do that, you have to add in little recursive moments, almost flashbacks, reminders of what happened so if something big is going to happen in episode 8 that hinges on something in episode 2, you've got to remind your viewers.

"But when you're binge watching you don't need those reminders, that just happened an hour ago and you will have not forgotten that.

"If you've been sitting there for six hours and you've been reminded of the same thing eight or ten times you start to think to yourself why do they keep repeating that. And all of a sudden...you see through the veil."