The world’s binge-watching produces as much CO2 as six car journeys to Mars and back with room to spare for a detour around the moon, new research by Save On Energy has found.
Netflix’s most popular original films and series in the year to September 2019 produced a combined total of almost 1.5 billion kilos of CO2, equivalent to travelling 4.6 billion km by car. That’s more than 115,000 car journeys around the circumference of the Earth.
Given current levels of confinement, isolation and quarantine around the world, that figure is only set to rise with gaming and streaming services reporting unprecedented usage as the housebound search for ways to keep themselves occupied throughout the coronavirus outbreak.
Data shows our addiction to series is much more worrying than a penchant for movies, with the top 10 most popular films accounting for less than a quarter (23%) of emissions due to a shorter run time.
With 80 million viewers, Birdbox was the most popular film in the time looked at. Its viewers were responsible for 66,133,333kg of CO2 produced between them, equal to 236,513,963km or 5901 journeys around the world. Fyre, Murder Mystery, The Perfect Date and Tall Girl also made the top 10.
Though fewer people watched the third season of Stranger Things (64 million), its eight episodes between 50 and 77 minutes in length meant higher emissions for a total of 420,977,778kg. That’s more than six times the figure of Birdbox.
The research arrived at its conclusions by taking Netflix viewing figures. It then divided the total minutes for each of the movies and shows by 30 minutes and, multiplied by 0.2 to arrive at a CO2 emission per person figure.
Statistics show that Netflix now has more than 158 million subscribers worldwide, while Cisco’s Visual Network Indicator predicts that online videos will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022.