Yesterday, Netflix dropped a dramatic, doom-filled press release: “Netflix Cheating is on the Rise Globally and Shows No Signs of Stopping.” 46 percent of you have done it, the press release warned. 81 percent of you have done it more than once. The “it” here is the specific phenomenon of one-half of a couple (or friend duo) skipping ahead in a series they were supposed to be watching with their partner. Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Netflix has released a test that’ll tell you just how much of a cheater you are.
The idea of “TV cheating” has probably been around since the dawn of the weekly television series, but it’s been exacerbated by Netflix’s enticement to binge-watch. If an entire season is suddenly available to watch in one night, there’s nothing but sheer willpower making you wait for the next episode. And because Netflix automatically plays the next episode, you barely have to make the decision to cheat — it just happens. Netflix says 80 percent of cheating is an impulse decision, and 45 percent of cheaters never confess to their crime.
As Netflix has expanded globally, this has become a global problem. Netflix surveyed subscribers in 29 countries, and found instances of cheating in all 29. Brazil had the highest number of cheaters, at 58 percent, while the Netherlands had the lowest, at 27 percent.
One solution to stream-cheating would be to commit to solo viewing, but that doesn’t make much sense if you’re the kind of person who likes to immediately dissect plot details with friends. As we continue to have too much TV and not enough time, syncing up our viewing habits with others makes less and less sense — but we’ll probably do it anyway.
Still, there’s hope for the cheaters out there: 46 percent of people surveyed said Netflix cheating wasn’t a big deal.