Amazon Prime knows your TV viewing shame

What’s your guilty pleasure?
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Image: Reuters/Carlo Allegri
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There are shows that you watch with friends and family, chat about around the water cooler, post about on social media, and even host viewing parties for. Then, there are those you view behind closed doors, or with one hand shielding your phone when you’re on the train. You may smile in acknowledgement when your guilty pleasure series comes up in conversation, but your cool demeanor belies the fact that you’ve seen every episode. Twice.

But you can’t hide your guilty pleasures from Amazon. The streaming-video service knows what you watch on your phone when no one’s looking.

Amazon analyzed the TV shows US users bought, rented, or streamed on its subscription service, Prime Video, over last year. It found stark differences in the series people tended to stream from TV sets, and the ones they watched more privately on mobile devices.

More than half of streams for reality TV, romantic shows, teen series, and soap operas occurred on mobile devices, Amazon found. The Bachelor, Sex and the City, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Vampire Diaries, were among the top TV shows streamed on mobile via Amazon.

People were more likely to watch children and family shows, documentaries, lifestyle series, courtroom and crime dramas, and comedies in the living room, Amazon said. These genres were streamed 60% of the time from smart TVs and streaming media players that are typically hooked up to TVs, like the Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, game consoles, and Smart TVs, Amazon said. Bosch, Goliath, This Is Us, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Nature were among those most watched titles.

Amazon would not say whether it factors this behavior in when making recommendations for content on mobile and living room devices.