The Modern Marathon: Binge Watching

The Modern Marathon: Binge Watching

Bailey Ferguson, Staff Writer

Order ten pizzas? Check. Turn off all the lights? Check. Call over some friends? Check.

This is no normal party, though. This is a binge watching party.

It seems as though more and more people today are spending whole days watching entire series in a single sitting, and with good reason. With so many television providers allowing users to stream anytime of day, it’s no wonder people are taking a day out of their lives to finish Arrested Development or Orange is the New Black.

This trend can be traced back as far as the nineties with people watching entire DVD sets of series in a single sitting. This trend became more popular after the popularity spike of viewing platforms like Netflix and HBO Go. A poll on Netflix found that 61% of its viewers binge watch their programming regularly. The craze reached even greater heights in 2013 with Netflix releasing entire seasons of their independent programming at one time.

Streaming media companies are now beginning to accept the culture. With television programs like DareDevil and House of Cards releasing entire seasons at once on Netflix, clearly providers want the approval of their users. If it’s less time between episodes they want, it’s less time they will receive.

There are those who disapprove of this overload of content. Some believe that the wait between seasons will become even more unbearable or that the social value of programming will decrease because nobody has to wait for the next episode the following week. Of course, there are also those who say that there are so many better ways to spend the day other than laying down for eight hours.

HBO CEO, Richard Plepler argues against the binge ideology of television viewing.

“I don’t think it would have been a great thing for HBO or our brand if our programs had been gobbled up in the first week,” Plepler said. “I think it is more exciting for the viewer to have that mystery held out for an extended period of time.”

Will the binge-viewing lifestyle progress into the only way to watch television? Or is it just another fad?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have five more episodes of Breaking Bad to get through before tomorrow.