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Sorry about that spoiler, eh?

According to a study conducted by Netflix, Canadians are characteristically polite about trying to avoid spoiling a TV show for their friends and family.

But most say they've had to apologize in the past for blurting out too much about an exciting plot point.

Meanwhile, Americans were twice as likely to think they should be able to talk about a new episode of their favourite TV show any time they want.

"(Canadians speak about spoilers) with a certain delicacy ... and they are accommodating with one another with a fine touch when it comes to social interactions," says Vancouver native Grant McCracken, a cultural anthropologist who has worked with Netflix to examine viewership trends.

"Americans, in maybe that characteristically American way ... get to that diplomatic moment, they start to code things (during conversations), but they go, 'This is stupid, let's let fly' and it's up to the spoilee to protect themselves."

In an online poll of 1,506 Canadians conducted for Netflix by Leger Marketing, 69 per cent of the respondents said they had accidentally spoiled a show for someone in the past.

Just 11 per cent said they considered it appropriate to freely reveal spoilers a day after a show first airs, while most thought a week was a long enough waiting period before they could talk about a show in detail.

In a similar American survey, 21 per cent said they felt it was OK to discuss a show with spoilers immediately after it aired.

McCracken says attitudes around spoilers have rapidly shifted in recent years and are trending toward being more accepted. Most TV viewers who choose not to follow a show when it first airs accept that encountering spoilers is almost inevitable.

"People are saying ... it's important to respect other peoples' needs and feelings but frankly, some of these shows are really the life of the conversation in the office place and to not be able to talk about it and to have these embargoes that last several days or weeks when this show is at the centre of (attention) ... is really is just wrong," McCracken says.

A growing number of people are even intentionally seeking out spoilers now, he adds.

More than one in four of the Canadian survey respondents said they read spoiler-filled comments or articles about shows they hadn't yet watched but planned to.

"What they're doing is engaging in a kind of auditioning process where they're listening for people to talk about shows and thinking, 'That might be good for me,"' says McCracken.

"You used to throw yourself down on your couch, you flip around the dial and find the best of bad choices. And now that there's so much good TV, people are more discerning, they're more demanding ... people are looking for intelligence about other shows."

The Leger marketing survey was conducted between Sept. 12 and Sept. 15.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.

This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.

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