Can Watching Documentaries Be Counted as A Hobby?

There has never been a time with so much to watch on TV or hand-held devices like today.

Whether you prefer Hulu or Netflix, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to platforms and range of video content to watch.

See Also: What Are Some Observational Hobbies?

But, Can Watching Documentaries Be Counted as A Hobby?

Absolutely, because why not.

This is how Meriam Webster dictionary defines a hobby:

– Any pursuit besides your usual occupation, especially one that you engage in for sheer relaxation.

Basically, a hobby is anything you love doing but only in your free time. If you have a regular job but likes to watch documentaries to pass time, you can regard yourself as a documentary hobbyist.

Still, there’s a lot to consider. Read on.

So When Is Watching Documentaries a Hobby?

As mentioned earlier, for it to be a hobby, it must be pursued for the sheer enjoyment of it in your free time.

Let’s say you are highly passionate about climate change and environmental conservation.

You’d be more inclined to comb all the available streaming services until you find a few movies on the same.

If you allocate an hour or two of your free time on them and end up getting something out of it, it would be a great hobby.

Here’s how to tell whether it’s a hobby or not:

  • You always LOOK FORWARD to the next episode in the docuseries. Sometimes you count days or hours to a release
  • You don’t find yourself forwarding the documentary while watching
  • You RECOGNIZE minor yet important details that other viewers don’t pick up. If you know David Attenborough, then chances are you are into environmental conservation and related documentaries.
  • You are ALWAYS CURIOUS to learn more about a certain subject and wouldn’t waste your free time on anything else but a movie about it
  • It’s a regular thing. You don’t take time off – you always put your free time into watching your latest documentary.

Some Professions May Consider It

Perhaps the best evidence that watching documentaries can be a real hobby is how seriously some professionals take it.

It might as well be the reason why you’re wondering whether it’s a real hobby or not because you are contemplating including it in a job application.

While the ‘Hobbies’ part of the resume is often optional, a resume generally shows the achievements, background, and skills that an applicant possesses.

For that reason, you wouldn’t leave the hobbies section completely blank.

Instead, you’d use the opportunity to spice up the resume and keep your potential employer interested.

1. Film Industry & Journalism

If you are writing a CV to apply for a job in, say, film industry or journalism then you can bet your employer will be pleased with your love for documentaries.

2. Writing & General Entertainment

You need to watch a lot of movies and documentaries to be a great post-production guy as you will be dealing with media content.

Writers too, especially scriptwriters, need to have a soft spot for video content.

When Watching Documentaries Should NOT Be Considered Hobby.

There’s a reason why watching movies/documentaries is one of the least pursued hobbies.

There’s a difference between watching something for entertainment and watching for learning purposes or because the topic falls in your line of interest.

Also, just because you have a lot of free time in your hands in front of a TV doesn’t mean you’re really interested in what you’re watching.

It’s NOT A Hobby If:

You Are A Binge Watcher

I.e. you watch too many documentaries over a given period to a point of interfering with your productivity.

In that case, it would be no longer passive but somewhat a full-time thing.

However, if you are watching in the company of a friend with similar interests, you are good to go through a whole docuseries – it’s no longer binge-watching at that point.

It’s A Must-Do

Let’s say you are a movie or documentary critic, then you are not watching them to pass time.

An Argument Against Staring at A Screen in The Name of a Hobby

There are legitimate concerns about sitting in front of the TV for hours and calling it a hobby.

One of those concerns is the fact that watching a documentary doesn’t require real creative input.

Often, you don’t get a sense of progress by watching a movie or documentary regardless of the number of episodes or length of time you spend on it.

So, to many people, it’s more of entertainment than a constructive thing to do.

Hobbies Should Be Practical

Virtually everything that qualifies as a hobby is practical or involves physical engagements.

Take painting for example, it takes great mental concentration and hand skill to create a captivating piece.

Staring on a screen, on another hand, simply feeds tons of information into the mind but involves zero input.

So it boils down to what you want to get out of the documentaries.

If you are trying to expand your knowledge base or hands-on engagement thereafter then it would be a great hobby.

The Age Factor

Your age can determine whether watching documentaries and pretty any similar materials should be regarded as a hobby or not.

For instance, a 16-year old or younger person probably has no business in such materials.

That’s partly because many people at that age haven’t made up their minds regarding careers.

At that age, you don’t really care about CVs.

There’s also a slim chance intricate topics found in documentaries could capture your attention.

The Positive and Negative Sides

We tend to focus too much on the negative side of TV-related hobbies because the TV is associated with slackers.

However, there are numerous positives to watching documentaries.


If you are the introverted type, this is one of the best hobbies you could take.

As you may have realized, documentaries are more factual than news items, regular movies, and most other productions shown on TV nowadays.

That’s because journalists visit actual places, talk to real people, and often involve relevant experts on relevant subjects in the process of documentary preparation.

As such, they are capable of expanding your worldview.


The problem with documentaries, just like any other TV-related hobby, is that you are prone to take it too far to a point of interfering with your productivity.

You are likely to end up skipping important chores. If it comes at a cost to your productivity and wellbeing, then it’s not worth it.

Also, unless you explore different topics, watching tons of documentaries on the same topic can turn out to be a boring hobby.


To summarize everything, watching documentaries can be counted as a hobby except in a few situations like in the case of overindulgence.

Perhaps the best evidence that watching documentaries can be a real hobby is how seriously some professionals take it.

However, there are legitimate concerns about sitting in front of the TV for hours and calling it a hobby.

One of those concerns is the fact that watching a documentary doesn’t require real creative input.

Additional Observation Hobbies
BenchmarkingWatching Anime
Binge watchingWatching Documentaries
MeditationPeople Watching
Satellite WatchingStargazing
Watching KdramaWatching Movies
Watching NetflixWatching Sports
Watching TVWatching YouTube
Whale WatchingPodcast Listening


Additional Hobbies For Consideration