Spoiler Alert! It's OK to Spoil

Television Has Gotten so Good, People Cant Not Talk About It, says Netflix

LOS GATOS, Calif., Sept. 22, 2014 Ever get really mad at someone who spoiled a TV show for you? Maybe youre one of the millions of people who have un-friended, broken up with, or even gotten into a physical fight over a spoiler. Or maybe youre someone who spoils in retaliation.

But can you really blame someone for divulging a plot twist? Isnt TV just too good not to talk about? According to a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Netflix among U.S. adults, one in five (21%) Americans say its perfectly fine to share a major plot twist -- immediately. And that number is only likely to grow.


In the past, viewers might have gotten angry. Now, they're more pragmatic when it comes to spoilers, which have in essence become teasers. With everyone watching TV shows at different times, 76% of Americans say spoilers are simply a fact of life. In fact, almost all of them (94%) say that hearing a spoiler doesnt make them want to stop watching the rest of a TV series. And 13% report that a spoiler actually makes them more interested in a show they hadnt seen or werent planning to watch.

As TV evolves, consumer behavior is evolving right along with it. When we premiered all episodes of our series at once across the world, it created a new dynamic around spoilers, said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix. After Season 2 of House of Cards launched there was a definite shift in the social conversation about a key plot twist in episode one; that was the moment everything changed.

To better understand why and how the culture of spoilers is evolving, Netflix worked with author and cultural anthropologist, Grant McCracken, who visited peoples homes to study how they watch and talk about TV.

Spoilers arent the end of the world that they used to be, McCracken said. Opinions and habits have shifted. Today, talking about spoilers is just talking about TV; in fact, people arent willing or even interested in censoring themselves anymore.

McCracken attributes this to better TV storytelling. Over the past few years, writers and showrunners threw out the rulebook, which has created a new and improved TV that is complex and morally challenging. TV has gotten so good that we need to talk about it.

McCracken found that as TV evolves, so does the language and behavior of how people talk about their favorite shows. In his research, he identified five personality types -- based on how and why they might convey key plot points to their friends.

The Clueless Spoiler. They live in their own innocent world. If theyve seen it, everyone else must have too, so it never dawns on them theyve casually revealed a huge plot twist.

The Coded Spoiler. They find pride in speaking in code about major plot points so only other superfans know whats being discussed.

The Impulsive Spoiler. Theyre thrilled to be talking about their favorite show...so thrilled they gave away the next 3 seasons in a single breath.

The Power Spoiler. They play with plot twists to get inside peoples heads because everythings a game to them.

The Shameless Spoiler. They arent willing or even interested in censoring themselves anymore. As far as they're concerned, everyone watches on their own schedule, so once something's out there it's fair game.

To find out what kind of spoiler you are, visit: Spoilers.Netflix.com


This survey was conducted online within the United States between August 6 and 8, 2014 among 2,023 adults aged 18 and older by Harris Poll on behalf of Netflix via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents propensity to be online.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world's leading Internet television network with over 50 million members in more than 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including original series. For a low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

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