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Binge watching TV is like gorging yourself on chocolate. You know you shouldn’t do it and it will only make you feel bad, but the pull to see what happens next is simply too great. If that sounds like you, then you’re not alone; eight in 10 (or 40 million) adults use catch-up TV to satiate their need to see their favourite plotlines unfurl.

The statistic comes from communications industry regulator Ofcom, as part of their annual market report. It shows that not only are we using catch-up services to watch back-to-back episodes, 35% of us do it at least once a week – rising to 62% for the 16-24 year age group.

The majority of television bingers say it’s relaxing (70%), but this relaxation comes at a cost, with 32% of adults admitting that goggling at the box all night made them miss out on sleep and more than a quarter admitting they’d neglected the housework just to get their TV fix.

Access to faster internet speeds, more devices and TV on-demand services mean that we can watch pretty much anything we want, whenever and wherever we choose. The picture-perfect image of families gathering around the TV to watch it together could soon be relegated to the archives of nostalgia. Two in five adults watch TV alone every day and 90% once a week.

Even if we do decide on company, one third of those questioned said that watching TV together actually meant sitting in the same room, watching different things on different devices.

It’s the first time that Ofcom has analysed the use of streaming services and binge watching, demonstrating the impact and changing landscape of TV viewing. However, one comforting statistic that shows most of us are just a bunch of softies – over half (58%) of us prefer to watch big national events on live TV because ‘it feels good to know everyone is watching at the same time.’

So, while togetherness is still at the heart of TV, binge watching as we please is very much a modern side effect. We’ll have to wait until the next instalment of Ofcom’s annual market reports to see whether the plot thickens. Until then, make sure you don’t miss out on your favourite shows by checking comparethemarket.com for some great digital TV deals.

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