Location, location, location: did you know where lived plays a huge part in your feelings on spoilers? Well, that’s what a Netflix-funded research poll has revealed: Americans accept the inevitability of spoilers, Canadians are sorry about them (of course), and the Brits are just, well, too British to even consider spoilers an acceptable thing in any regard. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?
In an attempt to understand our rapidly and continually changing viewing habits — particularly in this age of revered binge-watching — Netflix worked with author and cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken to, essentially, step into the metaphorical living rooms of Americans, Canadians, and folks all across the United Kingdom, to understand how and why we view programs (and spoilers) they way we do.
On top of the heap? That would be the good ol’ US of A, where 76 percent of the survey’s respondents agreed with the sentiment that spoilers are “just one of those things that we have to live with these days.” Comparatively speaking, 24 percent of our British brethren believe they’re a fact of life and even less — only 4 percent! — think it is OK to spoil folks on major show happenings, because, you know, decorum and consideration and all that. Tut tut!
The in-betweener of these two extremes is Canada (because of course). Surprisingly, though, 72 percent of Canadians find spoilers to just be the way of the world today. Less shocking was the fact that 69 percent of the folks McCracken spoke to apologized for accidentally spoiling someone. No doubt at-times begrudgingly so, only 37 percent of Americans felt bad about spoiling something and later apologized for doing so, because USA! USA! USA!
As far as timing goes? On the American side of things, 21 percent of folks surveyed believed the day-after an episode aired was A-OK to get into the nitty-gritty, spoilerific territory, whereas Canadians hovered around 11 percent. The British found all of this so terribly untoward and outside the acceptable behaviors of social conventions that they had to go find a chaise lounge to faint on, 58 percent of them saying they’ve felt bad for spoiling something in the past.
McCracken also deduced the many different type of spoilers out there in the world, and even created a handy-dandy chart to help you figure out what sort of spoilsport you are (clickity-click — double click!):
Those curious to know which type of spoiler they are can take a quiz because this is the Internet and who doesn’t love a typifying quiz, right?! (I’m an “Impulsive.” Is that more Carrie or Samantha?)
And going deeper, he also figured out the stages of spoiling:
Stage One: Contained & Coded — “At this stage the majority of people take care to try not to spoil.”
Stage Two: Share Aware — “Where the emphasis shifts to the ‘spoilee’ to protect themselves in order to avoid spoilers by sidestepping social media.”
Stage Three: Uncensored Spoiling — “Where spoiling becomes a way of life with social media providing the rumour mill as has been the case for shows such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, to name a couple.”
There’s also the rule-bending version of spoiling — something the Brits make great use of, those tricky treacles — Real-Time Subversive Spoiling (also known as what it’s like to sit next to me while watching TV), where someone who’s already viewed the program-at-hand intermittently offers hints that a big moment is on its way. Sort of like when someone, cough, goes “oh man this next part!” or “just WAIT until the next scene you guys JUST WAIT oh man!”
Thankfully, Netflix is willing to take the blame for this new way of watching, and spoiling, that has come upon us all. “As TV evolves, consumer behaviour is evolving right along with it,” explained Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix. “When we premiered all episodes of our shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black all at once, across the world, it created a new dynamic around spoilers.”
So — what sort of spoiler are you? Let’s share in the comments!
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