Valentine’s Day message from Netflix: Australians cheat on their significant others

Movie and TV streaming behemoth Netflix has issued a warning this Saint Valentine’s Day: there’s an epidemic of Australians cheating on their partners … when it comes to Netflix viewing. As it says: “Have you ever been watching your favourite show with your partner, parent or a friend, only to come home late one night and find out they are three episodes ahead?”

Netflix defines cheating in an untraditional way: “watching a TV show ahead of your significant other”. I’m assuming that these are shows that the partners have agreed, perhaps tacitly, to enjoy together. With this cheating, according to Netflix’s research, “41 per cent have cheated three or more times”.

When you’re a big company you have lots of data. Netflix has enormous amounts of data on its subscribers’ viewing habits. But you have to ask: how does it know if you’re watching one of its shows alone or with your nearest and dearest?

No, it’s not creepy. Netflix hasn’t turned your TV into 1984’s Telescreen and Netflix isn’t spying on you. It used SurveyMonkey to conduct a survey of some thirty thousand users in the last couple of weeks of 2016, covering 29 countries.

So 45% of Australians (who are part of the “adult online population who watch TV shows via streaming services as a couple”, according to the methodology) have “cheated” on their significant other. Is this a sin of which the good Saint Valentine would have disapproved? Well, 47% of (such) Australians reckon that such cheating is “not bad at all”, but that’s kind of contradicted by the 61% of (such) Australians who have kept their cheating a secret.

And apparently four out of ten survey participants from Hong Kong consider Netflix cheating to be worse than, well, cheating on your partner.

We’re apparently not as bad as Brazilians and Mexicans, where around 57% cheat. The Dutch are apparently the nicest with 73% not cheating.

Biggest shows for Australian cheating: “American Horror Story”, “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black”.

Biggest reason? According to the survey, “it just happens”, with four out of five instances being unplanned.

People, it seems, just can’t bring themselves to stop watching a good show.

This graphic summarises the global results of the survey: