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Comunicar Journal 75: Youth, gender identity and power in digital platforms (Vol. 31 - 2023)

Let’s talk series: Binge-watching vs. marathon. The duality in the consumption of episodes from the Grounded Theory


Eva Martínez-Serrano

Diana Gavilan

Gema Martínez-Navarro


Binge-watching refers to the consecutive viewing of episodes of a fictional series, usually of the drama genre, in a single session. The approaches to its background, practice, and effects are diverse and controversial. Using a qualitative-exploratory approach analysed with Grounded Theory, this paper studies the experience of binge-watching users from data collected from a sample of 20 individuals combined with techniques such as group meetings, in-depth interviews and projective techniques. Results lead to the identification of two underlying patterns of behaviour associated with the consumption of dramatic content: planned binge-watching and unplanned binge-watching. Planned binge-watching is the intentional consumption of more than two consecutive episodes of a fictional series whose psychological effects are mainly gratification based on evasion. Planned series consumption has a socializing effect, especially among young people. Unplanned binge-watching is the unintentional and spontaneous chained viewing of more than two episodes of a fiction series. The viewing unit is each individual episode, linked to the next by the curiosity aroused by the plot. The psychological effects are gratification derived from evasion, followed by a feeling of guilt derived from the loss of control. The study concludes with the formulation of seven hypotheses for empirical verification, academic and professional implications, and future lines of research.


Binge-watching, series, Netflix, video streaming, Grounded Theory, content consumption

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