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A marathon is an event in which viewers or readers engage many hours' worth of
media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication) In mass communication, media are the communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, It ...
(film, television, books,
YouTube YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform Social media are interactive technologies that allow the Content creation, creation or information sharing, sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, an ...

YouTube
videos etc.) in a condensed time period. This phrase represents a two-fold shift from binge-watch in that it incorporates other media (not just television) and it reduces the negative connotations associated with bingeing. In the 2014 book ''Media Marathoning: Immersions in Morality,'' Lisa Perks describes media marathoning as a "comprehensive and complimentary phrase" that "connotes a conjoined triumph of commitment and stamina. This phrase also captures viewers' or readers' engrossment, effort, and sense of accomplishment surrounding their media interaction."
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
executive Todd Yellin is quoted as saying "I don't like the term 'binge,' because it sounds almost pathological. 'Marathon' sounds more celebratory." Media marathons can be organized around particular series, particular artists (e.g., Kurosawa or
Hitchcock
Hitchcock
), or genres (e.g.,
horror film A horror film is one that seeks to elicit fear Fear is an intensely unpleasant emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, fee ...
s or
chick flick Chick flick is a slang term, sometimes used pejoratively, for the film genre catered specifically to women's interests, and is marketed towards women demographics. They generally tend to appeal more to a younger female audience and deals mainl ...
s). Marathons can be user-created: one person decides to undertake a marathon solo or to organize a group marathon. Marathons may also be producer-created. Producer-created marathons are usually orchestrated by movie theaters, fan sites, or by cable channels that show already-run seasons, and, more recently, with original first-run programming through streaming services (such as Netflix's ''House of Cards''). In television, a marathon is an extension of the concept of
block programming Block programming is the broadcast programming, arrangement of programs on radio or television so that those of a particular genre, theme, or target audience are grouped together. Overview Block programming involves scheduling a series of related ...
.


Reasons

The most common reasons for a network to run a marathon are: # to celebrate the acquisition of a series, # to commemorate the loss of rights to a series # to lead into a highly anticipated episode of a series (such as a return from a hiatus or a
series finale A series finale refers to the last installment of an episodic entertainment series, most often the final episode of a television series. It may also refer to a final theatrical sequel, the last part of a television miniseries, the last installmen ...
), # likewise to allow viewers to catch up on a series before a season finale, # to honor the retirement or death of a person associated with the series (this is particularly popular on networks that specialize in
rerun A rerun or repeat is a rebroadcast of an episode of a radio or television program. There are two types of reruns – those that occur during a hiatus, and those that occur when a program is syndicated. Variations In the United Kingdom Th ...
s), # to mark a milestone associated with that series (such as the anniversary of its premiere, or reaching a certain number of episodes) # to celebrate (or to take advantage of additional viewers on) a
holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate ...

holiday
, especially with holiday-themed episodes, # to
burn off In American broadcast programming, "burning off" is the custom of quickly airing the remaining episodes of an already-cancelled television program to meet legal requirements. In addition to airing episodes two at a time, this process may also inc ...
a contract for a television series that has proved unprofitable, # to signal the end of a channel format and/or the start of a new one, # or to inexpensively counterprogram against more popular programs such as the
Super Bowl The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). It has served as the final game of every NFL season since 1966, replacing the NFL Championship Game. Since 2004, the game has been played on the first Sunday ...
, Marathons are attractive to genre movie fans, or families that like watching their favourite movies/TV shows in blocks at a time.


History

Japanese
manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

manga
magazine ''
Weekly Shōnen Jump is a weekly Shōnen manga, ''shōnen'' manga anthology published in Japan by Shueisha under the ''Jump (magazine line), Jump'' line of magazines. It is the List of Japanese manga magazines by circulation, best-selling manga magazine, as well ...
'' developed a successful formula of publishing individual manga chapters and then compiling them into separate standalone
tankōbon is the Japanese language, Japanese term for a book that is not part of an anthology or corpus. In modern Japanese, the term is most often used in reference to individual volumes of a manga series: most series first appear as individual chapters ...
volumes that could be "binged" all at once. This ''Jump'' formula produced major
Japanese pop culture Japanese popular culture includes Japanese cinema, cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture Culture () is an umbrella ter ...
hits such as ''
Dragon Ball is a Japanese media franchise A media franchise, also known as a multimedia franchise, is a collection of related media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information o ...

Dragon Ball
'' (1984 debut), ''
One Piece ''One Piece'' (stylized in all caps) is a Japanese manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Cente ...

One Piece
'' (1997 debut) and ''
Naruto ''Naruto'' (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

Naruto
'' (1999 debut). According to Matt Alt of ''
The New Yorker ''The New Yorker'' is an American weekly magazine featuring journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of report Image:Hurt Report cover page.png, 220px, Example of a front page of a report A report is a document that pr ...

The New Yorker
'', "''Jump'' presaged the way the world consumes streaming entertainment today." Marathon viewing sessions of Japanese
anime is hand-drawn and computer animation " technique Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more general term computer-generated imagery Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of ...

anime
television series have been a common trend in
anime fandom Anime and manga fandom (otherwise known as fan community) is a worldwide community of fans of anime and manga. Anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, (a term der ...
for decades, dating back to the late 1970s to 1980s. According to an early American anime
cosplayer Cosplay, a portmanteau of the words "costume play", is an activity and performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and Fashion accessory, fashion accessories to represent a specific Character (arts), character. Cosplayer ...

cosplayer
, Karen Schnaubelt, Japanese anime were "incredibly difficult to come by" with "nothing available except broadcast TV until"
VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a for consumer-level on tape . From the 1950s, video recording became a major contributor to the television industry, via the first commercialized s (VTRs). At that time, the expensive devices were used only i ...

VHS
videotapes became commonly available in the late 1970s, allowing fans to import anime shows from Japan; she noted that a friend "would record the episodes" and then "a group of us would gather at his apartment and watch a marathon of the episodes." At comic conventions and sci-fi conventions in the 1980s, fans brought video tapes to hold marathon anime screenings; BayCon 1986, for example, held an 80-hour long anime marathon. On broadcast TV, the first TV marathons aired on Nickelodeon's
Nick at Nite Nick at Nite (stylized as nick@nite) is an American family-oriented nighttime programming block that broadcasts over the channel space of Nickelodeon. It typically broadcasts from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. (Mondays–Fridays, Sundays), 9:30  ...
, on July 1, 1985, presenting multiple episodes from ''Donna Reed'' and ''Route 66''. The idea by
Alan Goodman Alan Goodman is an American media executive, writer, and television producer. He has worked in media since 1981. Early life and education Goodman began his media career while still in high school as a reporter at The Hunterdon County Democrat i ...
and
Fred Seibert Frederick (Fred) Seibert (born September 15, 1951) is an American television producer and co-founder of MTV. Seibert started Frederator Studios in 1998, resigned in August 2020 after 22 years, and on February 23, 2021 announced a new cartoon produc ...
was based on a similar concept that radio stations used, in which songs by one particular artist would be played for a prolonged period of time. While early marathons were rare and special, in modern time it is common for some networks to air a television series in three- to four-hour blocks, sometimes on a daily basis, mainly to appeal to and compete with subscription
video-on-demand Video on demand (VOD) is a media distribution system that allows users to access videos without a traditional video playback device and the constraints of a typical static broadcasting schedule. In the 20th century, broadcasting in the form of o ...
services (such as
Hulu Hulu () (stylized in all lowercase) is an American subscription video on demand service fully controlled and majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast's NBCUniversal as an Equity (finance), equity stakeholder. The service was init ...

Hulu
and
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
) that have enabled voluntary "
binge-watching Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing or marathon-viewing, is the practice of watching entertainment or informational content for a prolonged time span, usually a single television show. In a survey conducted by Netflix Netflix, Inc. is ...
" of television series. Almost all marathons primarily feature
rerun A rerun or repeat is a rebroadcast of an episode of a radio or television program. There are two types of reruns – those that occur during a hiatus, and those that occur when a program is syndicated. Variations In the United Kingdom Th ...
s of episodes already previously broadcast, although one may be used to lead into the premiere of a new episode. To compete with the typical practice of streaming services releasing entire seasons of original productions all at once, TBS premiered the entire first season of ''
Angie Tribeca ''Angie Tribeca'' is an American comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use of the English lan ...
'' as a marathon, running the 10 episodes on a loop for 25 hours. In a few cases, especially with classic television, lost episodes, originally unseen
television pilot A television pilot (also known as a pilot or a pilot episode and sometimes marketed as a tele-movie) is a standalone episode An episode is a narrative unit within a larger drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mim ...
s, and other programming that may not have been seen during the show's original run may be included. Marathons have proven to be a viable way of rerunning reality television contests, which have otherwise been relatively difficult to rerun in traditional forms (e.g. daily "strip" syndication) because of the loss of the element of surprise. In December 2012, MTV announced that it would air a seven-day (168-hour) marathon of ''
Jersey Shore The Jersey Shore (known by locals as The Shore) is the coastal region of the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geograp ...
'' before the series finale on December 20, 2012; this marked one of the longest marathons in television history. It has been speculated in the early 2010s that marathon television viewing or
binge-watching Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing or marathon-viewing, is the practice of watching entertainment or informational content for a prolonged time span, usually a single television show. In a survey conducted by Netflix Netflix, Inc. is ...
, usually done on-demand by ordering a whole season of episodes of a television series on a service such as
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
, is increasing in popularity.
Infomercial An infomercial is a form of television commercial A television advertisement (also called a television commercial, commercial, advert, TV advert or simply an ad) is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization. I ...
blocks are generally not considered marathons beyond jocular mentions of such for networks such as
CNBC CNBC is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription business model is a busi ...
which program heavy infomercial schedules on weekends or financially struggling stations which schedule them in high-profile time periods. Perks attributes the contemporary marathoning trend to three factors: advances in content-delivery technologies, active audience behaviors, and increasing complexity of storytelling. On June 25, 2015,
Comedy Central Comedy Central is an American basic cable Cable television Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, l ...

Comedy Central
announced that it would stream a marathon online of every episode of ''
The Daily Show ''The Daily Show'' (often abbreviated as ''TDS'' ) is an American late-night talk show, late-night talk and news satire, satirical news television program. It airs each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. Describing itself as a fake news ...
'' hosted by
Jon Stewart Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz; November 28, 1962) is an American comedian, writer, producer, director, political commentator, actor, and television host. He hosted ''The Daily Show'', a news satire, satirical news program on Comed ...
, known as "Your Month of Zen", running between June 26 and August 6, 2015, in honor of his retirement.


Length

Researchers have operationally defined media marathoning and binge-watching in different ways. Perks provides medium-specific definitions. Marathoners must have "viewed a television season in a week or less, watched three or more films from the same series in a week or less, or read three or more books from the same series in a month or less". A Netflix-commissioned study defined "binge-watching" as viewing 2 to 6 episodes of the same show in one sitting. A 2014 TiVo survey defined binge-watching as watching 3 or more episodes of the same show in one day. In extreme media marathons, such as
the Simpsons ''The Simpsons'' is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of American life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer Simpson, Homer, Marge Si ...
Marathon (which lasted 86 hours and 37 minutes), the viewing time can last an exceptionally long time. A marathon generally has to have at least five episodes in a row to be considered as such; as writer Patrick Hipes noted, "some networks (promote) 3–4 episodes as a 'marathon,' but that's more like a 5K." Some of the longest-running marathons are the two '' Twilight Zone'' marathons that air on
Syfy Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel, later shortened to Sci Fi; stylized as SYFY) is an American basic cable Cable television Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals tra ...

Syfy
in the United States on
New Year's Day New Year's Day is a festival observed in most of the world on 1 January, the first day of the year in the modern Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modi ...

New Year's Day
and
Independence Day An independence day is an annual event commemorating the anniversary An anniversary is the date on which an event took place or an institution was founded in a previous year, and may also refer to the commemoration or celebration of that ...
; not counting early-morning
infomercial An infomercial is a form of television commercial A television advertisement (also called a television commercial, commercial, advert, TV advert or simply an ad) is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization. I ...
s, each run for roughly three days straight. Holidays are a common time for marathons; for instance, on
Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a national holiday A holiday is a day set aside by custom Custom may refer to: Sense: Customary * Convention (norm), a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or criteria, often taking th ...

Thanksgiving
in 2010, over 40 cable networks aired marathons of various lengths. For a time, the longest continuous marathon in the history of television was a twelve-day marathon of ''
The Simpsons ''The Simpsons'' is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of American life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer Simpson, Homer, Marge Si ...
'' that aired on
FXX FXX is an American basic cable Cable television Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, light pulse ...
, which aired non-stop from August 21, 2014 until September 2, 2014. The marathon featured the first 552 episodes of the series (every single episode that had already been released at the time) aired chronologically, including ''
The Simpsons Movie ''The Simpsons Movie'' is a 2007 American Animation, animated comedy film based on the long-running animated sitcom ''The Simpsons''. Directed by David Silverman (animator), David Silverman, the film stars the regular television cast of Dan Ca ...
'', which FX Networks had already owned the rights to air. The first day of the marathon was the highest-rated broadcast day in the history of the network so far, the ratings more than tripled those of regular prime-time programming for FXX. Ratings during the first six nights of the marathon grew night after night, with the network ranking within the top 5 networks in basic cable each night. The record was surpassed in 2015 by
VH1 Classic MTV Classic (formerly VH1 Smooth, VH1 Classic Rock, and VH1 Classic) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers ...
, which broadcast a nineteen-day marathon of ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
'' from January 28 to February 15, in honour of the program's 40th season (with its end date coinciding with the 40th-anniversary special episode on NBC). The marathon primarily featured the series' most notable episodes in a reverse chronological order (beginning with season 39 and concluding with its October 11, 1975 series premiere), along with blocks focusing on specific celebrities (such as
Eddie Murphy Edward Regan Murphy (born April 3, 1961) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and singer. He rose to fame on the sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", common ...
and
Justin Timberlake Justin Randall Timberlake (born January 31, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and actor. He is one of the List of best-selling music artists#80 million to 99 million records, world's best-selling music artists, with sale ...

Justin Timberlake
), a block of the program's retrospective episodes on February 15, as well as Saturday-night airings of films featuring alumni of the series (such as ''
Black Sheep Black sheep Black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family. Black sheep may also refer to: Film * The Black Sheep (1920 film), ''The Black Sheep'' (1920 film), British silent film di ...
'' and''
Wayne's World "Wayne's World" was originally a recurring sketch from the NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicati ...
'').


Venue

Movie marathons may be hosted in a private residence or in movie theaters. One guide for hosting them notes that viewers should be able to come and go as they please.


Food

Some marathons offer story-specific food choices, such as lembas and butterbeer.
Popcorn Popcorn (popped corn, popcorns or pop-corn) is a variety of corn Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American North America is a continent entirely within the N ...

Popcorn
is considered a staple for movie marathons. Some people prefer to provide multiple flavors of popcorn, while others prefer to provide plain popcorn and flavoring separate so that participants can flavor it themselves.


See also

*
Binge-watching Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing or marathon-viewing, is the practice of watching entertainment or informational content for a prolonged time span, usually a single television show. In a survey conducted by Netflix Netflix, Inc. is ...
*
Doubleheader (television) A doubleheader is a term used by television network A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, where a central operation provides programming to many television stations o ...
*
Omnibus (broadcast) An omnibus (or omnibus edition) is a compilation of several television or radio episodes into a single instalment. An omnibus is similar to, but distinct from, what is called a marathon The marathon is a long-distance foot race with a dis ...
*
Telethon A telethon (a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "portmanteau (luggage) A portmanteau is a piece of luggage Baggage or luggage consists of bags, cases, and containers which hold a travel Travel is the movement ...


References

{{Reflist, 2
Television terminology {{CatAutoTOC Terminology Terminology is a general word for the group of specialized words or meanings relating to a particular field, and also the study of such terms and their use. This is also known as terminology science. Terms are words and ...
Entertainment events