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Netflix tells its actors to stop saying ‘binge-watching’ because it wants to seem more luxe

Updated Nov 9th, 2022 9:18PM EST
Netflix binge watching
Image: Etienne Laurent/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

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Before the cast of The Innocents, a new teenage supernatural original series from Netflix, set out to make the rounds with the press promoting the show, Netflix had at least one specific instruction to convey. An instruction that actor Guy Pearce actually says Netflix “strictly” made clear: Don’t use the term “binge-watching” in your interviews.

We know this, because in an interview with Empire Magazine’s film podcast, Guy answered a question by saying — we’re not allowed to say binge-watching because Netflix asked us not to.

From Business Insider: “‘I don’t think Netflix likes the term ‘binge,” Pearce said when Empire asked him if viewers would binge-watch The Innocents. ‘When we did the promotion for [The Innocents] in the [United States], we were strictly sort of instructed beforehand not to talk about ‘binge-watching.'”

BI goes on to speculate, since Netflix didn’t say why it’s being weird about this, that it might be because the company wants to extricate its brand from all things binge-y. Like Binge-eating. Binge-drinking. Basically from all the bad things, and indeed they’re all bad, that a person does during any kind of binge.

Even though Netflix, as if any of us needed to be reminded, kind of popularized the idea of binge-watching, even using the term in a December 2013 press release with this as the headline: “Netflix Declares Binge Watching is the New Normal.” The first sentence? — ‘Selfies’ may be the official new word of 2013, but Binge-Watching was a runner-up for a reason. 

There may indeed be something to the suspicion here that Netflix is trying to get away from the term as part of a move to make its brand seem more — highbrow, maybe?

That may be a stretch, but consider: Variety is out with a report today speculating that Netflix raising prices recently may be keeping low-income customers away. As proof, it cites data from Peter Griffin, an economist for cash advance company Earnin that says growth of Netflix usage among its members has stalled.

“The percentage of Earnin customers who subscribe to Netflix has been flat for some time, the company’s economist Peter Griffin wrote in a blog post Tuesday,” Variety notes. “That’s despite the fact that the overall usage of paid streaming services has grown notably among Earnin users, with both YouTube and Hulu adding paid users.

“That trend has been particularly pronounced ever since Netflix’s most recent price increase. The streaming service raised its prices at the end of 2017, bumping the monthly charge for its HD tier from $9.99 to $10.99. The price for the company’s family plan, which includes the ability to stream to up to four devices and access streams in 4K HDR, increased from $11.99 to $13.99.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.