Brian Stelter asks, “how can viewers who binged on all 13 episodes [of House Of Cards] in one sitting talk about the show without ruining the season for others who might wait weeks or months to watch it?” Joshua Gans ponders the dilemma:
This is actually the extreme manifestation of a problem that has been growing for decades. As I outlined in a paper presented last month at a BBC Workshop on the economics of broadcasting, there has always been a social component in the demand for television. It was strengthened because television was, in many ways, a non-storable good. But with time shifting and now on-demand, it can be stored. That is something many people want but the cost of that is that people watch television shows at different times. That means that it is harder to talk about those shows with your friends — which was a ‘water cooler’ benefit of watching television and coordinating viewing habits.