Mass Communication Project Topics

Effect of Netflix on Youth Addiction to Home Videos




Background of the study

The most common form of leisure activity around the world is still watching television (an average of 2.8 hours per day according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). Clearly, there is a wide range of interpretations on what constitutes heavy viewing, and the addictive quality is more closely tied to the degree to which viewing disrupts one’s ability to carry out one’s daily responsibilities than it is to the total amount of time spent watching television (Exelmans & Van den Bulck, 2017). However, considering the vast amount of time that people spend watching television and the widespread agreement that there is such a thing as addiction to television, this particular line of addiction research is one that should be pursued.

The habit of watching an excessive amount of audiovisual content, such as movies or television shows, is not a recent development (Jenner, 2016; Pittman & Sheehan, 2015). Despite this, it has significantly increased in importance over the course of the past several years as the number of people watching television shows has skyrocketed to heights that have never been seen before (GfK, 2016). Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu allow its users unrestricted access to an exponentially rising amount of serialised programmes at an inexpensive charge (Reelgood, 2019). This is one of the factors that is driving this trend.

As a direct consequence of this, streaming providers report seeing persistent and fast growth. From 2015 (US$ 171 million) to 2018 (US$ 508 million), subscription video-on-demand services have experienced an increase of approximately 300% on a worldwide basis. Furthermore, forecasts foresee a continual growth up to almost one billion users by 2024. (Digital TV Research, 2019). The popularity of video-on-demand services may be attributed to the fact that they provide users more options and more control over their own lives by enabling them to view whatever amount of material they want, anytime they want, and anywhere they want (Granow, Reinecke, & Ziegele, 2018). The combination of low prices, easy access, and a seemingly endless supply of content, in addition to the ability to watch television shows not only at home but also on mobile devices while commuting to work or travelling, is likely to facilitate, encourage, or even trigger excessive consumption behaviours.

In the summer of 2013, when Netflix first made available all fifteen episodes of the new season of Arrested Development, estimates indicated that around 10% of viewers had completed the season in less than twenty-four hours (Wallenstein) (Exelmans & Van den Bulck, 2017). This was not the first time that Netflix has published a full season of an original programme all at once and prompted a rush across the country in regards to video-on-demand services. When House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black first debuted on Netflix in 2013, a significant proportion of users binged on back-to-back episodes, consuming an entire season’s worth of content in a matter of days. Even though each of these three series belongs to a distinct genre — one is a sitcom, while the others are adult-themed melodramas — what they have in common is a great appeal among millennials, who make up the vast bulk of Netflix’s subscription base. When all episodes of a season were released at the same time, these shows inspired widespread marathon-viewing sessions among the age demographic of eighteen to thirty-four years old and among the younger audiences of Netflix. Many of those who binge watched and then took to social media to post their (largely positive) reviews of the first steps Netflix had taken to produce original TV content binge watched and then took to social media to post their reviews of the first steps Netflix had taken to produce original TV content. These patterns are the growing importance of social TV viewing practises and new expectations about the availability of commercial-free, high-quality, and original television content. As is the case with other forms of excessive media consumption, such as playing video games (Hartmann et al., 2019), using mobile phones (Karsay, Schmuck, Matthes, & Stevic, 2019), or using the internet, the negative effects on a person’s social life, mental health, and physical health have been the subject of much debate. One of the potential adverse effects is an increased level of anxiety over one’s social isolation as a direct result of the increased amount of time spent alone watching television shows (Vaterlaus, Spruance, Frantz, & Kruger, 2019). According to the findings of research conducted by de Feijter, Khan, & van Gisbergen (2016), health problems are either caused by or are made worse by an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, which may be defined as a lack of movement and exercise. The purpose of this essay is to analyse the effect of Netflix on youth addiction to home videos.


Statement of the Problem

It is common knowledge that Netflix, Inc. is leading the charge in the transformation brought about by internet streaming. Its streaming platform enables customers to view material without being interrupted by advertisements whenever and wherever they choose through the Internet (Exelmans & Van den Bulck, 2017).

Its content library has a vast variety of documentaries, feature films, and television episodes that cover a wide spectrum of genres and languages. As of right present, Netflix has over 208 million paying customers all over the world, with 74 million of those users located in the United States (Netflix, Inc., 2021). Because of this unrestricted access to digital information, a new habit known as “binge-viewing” has emerged. Binge-watching refers to the practise of watching many episodes of a television show in a single sitting. For instance, according to a survey by Nielson, 361,000 Netflix customers watched all nine episodes of the second season of Stranger Things in a single sitting within the first 24 hours of the show’s premiere (Abrams, 2017).

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The terms “addiction” and “Netflix” are increasingly being used interchangeably in the popular press, particularly among younger viewers and “screenagers.” Obviously, not all millennials were “born digital” and not all of them have access to the services that are being discussed here. Those that do, on the other hand, are becoming less and less satisfied to adhere to established timetables of programming that are based on weeks and seasons: Connected members of Generation Y (currently aged eighteen to thirty-four) and Generation Z (young people born after 2005) who have access to these services are experimenting with new ways of watching television by utilising a variety of digital technologies. One example of this is the use of subscription-based video on demand (VOD or SVOD) offered by Netflix. According to research conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers in 2013, 63% of households in the United States utilised a video streaming and delivery service such as Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime (Solsman) (Exelmans & Van den Bulck, 2017). Furthermore, research conducted by the Leichtman Research Group discovered that 22% of those households stream Netflix every single week of the year (“TV”). An estimated twenty-five percent of people living in English Canada are currently subscribed to Netflix. This percentage increases to 33% in homes with high school students, and it climbs even more, to 37%, in homes with children less than 12 years old. (Oliviera). Netflix is redefining viewers’ expectations regarding what they watch on television, how they watch it, and when they watch it by providing a vast inventory of TV episodes and movies, an uninterrupted viewing experience devoid of advertisements, and seamless episode delivery during “post play.” As a direct consequence of this, people are unsurprisingly tuning in to watch more television, often for longer stretches at a time.

In addition, addiction can cause a decrease in the quality of sleep (Exelmans & Van den Bulck, 2017), which can ultimately have an impact on both a person’s physical and mental health. In addition, a research that was conducted with college students discovered that the students reported consistently watching for longer than they wanted to and that watching television shows is a type of procrastination. This lack of control, along with the substitution of less important tasks for those that are considered more important, can eventually have an effect on academic achievement (Rubenking, Bracken, Sandoval, & Rister, 2018).

Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of Netflix on youth addiction to home videos. Specifically, other objectives of this study are to:

i.          Find out the extent Nigerian youths watch Netflix.

ii.        Determine whether Netflix influences the rate of youth addiction to home videos.

iii.      Examine the different effects of Netflix on Nigerian youths.

iv.      Find out ways to curb the effect of Netflix on youth addiction to home videos.

Research Questions

The following research questions will be answered in this study:

i.          To what extent do Nigerian youths watch Netflix?

ii.        Does Netflix influence the rate of youth addiction to home videos?

iii.      What are the different effects of Netflix on Nigerian youths?

iv.      What are the ways to curb the effect of Netflix on youth addiction to home videos?

 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will reveal that addicted Netflix binge-watchers find solace on the platform. Evidently, binge-watching on Netflix contributes to escaping reality and seeking relief from boredom caused by the pressures of life. Such a digital companion is invaluable in combating the stress. On the other hand, it is clear that a significant amount of their time (73 h per month) is being spent behind Netflix owing to factors such as “one more episode” syndrome and addiction. Therefore, there is a need for customers to gauge their usage. Since smartphones are the device of choice, it is recommended that Netflix users set restrictions via applications such as Apple’s “Screen Time” to prevent nonstop consumption of the streaming service.

Scope of the Study

This study focuses on the effect of Netflix on youth addiction to home videos. It will specifically focus on finding out the extent Nigerian youths watch Netflix, determining whether Netflix influences the rate of youth addiction to home videos, examining the different effects of Netflix on Nigerian youths and finding out ways to curb the effect of Netflix on youth addiction to home videos.

Selected students from the University of Lagos, Lagos State will serve as the enrolled participants for the survey of this study.

Limitations of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.

Definition of Terms

Netflix: Netflix is a subscription-based streaming service that allows our members to watch TV shows and movies without commercials on an internet-connected device.

Home videos: a film on videotape for viewing at home.



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