Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Netflix's New Release Ushered in Binge-Viewing

In 2013, Netflix ventured into new television territory by releasing all 13 episodes of their new show “House of Cards.” Even Netflix was shocked by how many viewers watched multiple episodes in one sitting. Although “House of Cards” was 13 hours long, Netflix reported that thousands of viewers consumed the entire series in one gulp over the weekend of its release. A later Netflix poll of TV streamers found that 61 percent defined their viewing style as watching two to six episodes at a time.

Grant McCracken, an anthropologist paid by Netflix to investigate (and promote) the habit, reported that “TV viewers are no longer zoning out as a way to forget about their day, they are tuning in, on their own schedule, to a different world. Getting immersed in multiple episodes or even multiple seasons of a show over a few weeks is a new kind of escapism that is especially welcome to today.”

This new habit of viewing TV morphed into a new word—binge-viewing. The word became widely used in 2013 after Netflix begin releasing their full seasons at once. It even prompted the Oxford Dictionary to add it to the language and also shortlisted as the Word of the Year. (The final Word of the Year for 2013 was “selfie.”)

Possible Preaching Angles:

Notice the phrases used to describe this practice (or spiritual discipline) of watching TV—“tuning in … to a different world” and “Getting immersed in multiple episodes.” That is how we should be able to describe our life of prayer, worship, and paying attention to God.


Adapted from Tim Wu, Attention Merchants (Vintage Books, 2016), p. 330

Related Sermon Illustrations

The Secret of Walking with God

In his book, Faith That Endures, Ronald Boyd-MacMillan tells the story of a number of conversations he has had with Wang Mingdao, one of China's most famous church pastors of the ...

[Read More]

Behold and Be Still

Two commands direct us from the small-minded world of self-help to the large world of God's help. First, "Come, behold the works of the Lord." Take a long, scrutinizing ...

[Read More]