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Netflix: Spoiler Alert! It's OK to Spoil

Television Has Gotten so Good, People Can't Not Talk About It, says Netflix

LOS GATOS, Calif.(22 Sep 2014)

Ever get really mad at someone who spoiled a TV show for you? Maybe you're one of the millions of people who have un-friended, broken up with, or even gotten into a physical fight over a spoiler.

But can you really blame someone for divulging a plot twist? Isn't TV just too good not to talk about?  According to a survey of Canadians conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of Netflix, 69 percent of us have accidentally spoiled a TV show for someone and almost one in five Canadians surveyed get so excited they can't help spoiling when discussing TV shows.

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, 72 percent of Canadians agree spoilers are simply a fact of life.  In fact, about nine in ten of us say that hearing a spoiler doesn't make us want to stop watching the rest of a TV series. More than a quarter of us actually seek out spoilers: 28 percent of Canadians surveyed look forward to reading comments identified with "spoiler alerts" for shows they haven't watched, but plan to watch.

"As TV evolves, consumer behaviour 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 people's homes to study how they watch and talk about TV.  

"Spoilers aren't 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 aren't 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 behaviour of how people talk about their favourite 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 they've seen it, everyone else must have too, so it never dawns on them they've 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 what's being discussed.   
  • The Impulsive Spoiler.  They're thrilled to be talking about their favourite 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 people's heads because everything's a game to them.  
  • The Shameless Spoiler.  They aren't 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: http://youtu.be/T5JR1i8D-CU

SURVEY METHODOLOGY
A survey of 1506 television-viewing Canadians was completed online between September 12 and September 15, 2014 using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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.