I feel like there are two types of hate-watching, the first is when a show someone initially likes suddenly declines in quality and despite their frustrations they try to hold out as long as possible hoping that somehow there'll be an upturn at some point, and even if it doesn't they'll be a "true fan" and begrudgingly stick with it until the bitter end. The second is when one knows they won't like something but will hate-watch it anyway just to rant about how bad it is after the fact. It's mainly the latter I'm interested in examining.
While the notion of mocking or being entertained by something for being terrible isn't new, since we've all had moments where we derive enjoyment watching certain trainwrecks occur or read up on the current drama happening in wherever online, hate-watching in itself has become more common nowadays with people wanting to see the fuss over something being declared "bad". It creates a certain curiosity and mild entertainment, which is understandable. However, I do think this also creates a problem especially when there are certain algorithms that determine the popularity of something via views, since algorithms and companies only care about the numbers, not morality. Even if it gets negative publicity for having, say, insensitive and offensive content, if you hate-watch something you're still giving it views and attention especially if you're talking about it online, thereby it gains even more popularity. This goes for watching anything from streaming services to YouTube videos from a specific individual, because it tells the higher ups that this is what people are interested in, no matter whether you actually like it or not, because again numbers matter more than morality. And I feel like a lot of people know this, and yet somehow we're still so tempted to click that link or to tune into something despite knowing what we're contributing. Then there's the trap of, "well, if I don't see it how will I know if it's actually as bad as they say", which also adds to that contribution as well. Either way, it creates this inescapable dilemma.
In general though, I've always been confused by the act of hate-watching as a whole. I'm not referring to being critical of the things you love and care for, since that's more of being objective and analytical about something that you hold dear to your heart, which that I can understand and I do quite frequently. I'm talking about watching something for the sake of hating on it, whether it's a "just because" thing or if you once liked the thing but no longer do, for whatever reason, and yet still partake in watching only to get more and more frustrated and angry with it. Just the act itself, getting worked up, wasting your time and energy over something that you have absolutely no enjoyment in whatsoever, I don't understand.
(Then again, there are those who do this for a living, who actually sit down and consume something they know they won't like but it's for the review/analysis/discussion that comes along with it. But I think that is a different thing altogether and separate from the general live hate-watching some do that is more rage-inducing than adding anything constructive.)
I don't know, this post is kind of random and sort of all over the place especially towards the end. All of this was mostly prompted by something I read regarding how Netflix tracks the views of a show which got me thinking about hate-watching and why people do it, and how it actually is a part of why certain things end up becoming more popular than others, and so on. It's just a fascinating subject when it comes to how we consume media and how our viewing habits affect the entertaining industry. It also got me wondering about the responsibility we have as consumers versus the responsibility of the industry, since no matter whether it's Nielsen or an algorithm the system is not going to be 100% accurate or effective.