As the streaming wars continue to heat up in 2022, with new players entering the market and established players doubling down on content strategies, Netflix is reportedly considering abandoning its binge-watching model for the new series.
The move is seen as an effort to keep subscribers engaged and ensure that the recent dip in numbers is only a blip. According to analyst Michael Nathanson, the current model “doesn’t make much sense,” The company may be pivoting to a more drip-fed approach.
A Cultural Shift in Viewing Habits
In recent years, series like Ozark and Stranger Things have experimented with a more drip-fed approach, releasing chunks of episodes in batches. However, CEO Reed Hastings has been reluctant to pivot away from the binge model, citing its popularity among viewers. But as viewers’ viewing habits have changed, with many opting for shorter, more digestible content, Netflix may be forced to adapt.
“The shift away from the binge model is a significant change for Netflix, but it’s not surprising given the competitive landscape,” says Julia Alexander, a senior strategy analyst at Parrot Analytics. “The weekly release model is tried and true, and it allows for more buzz and anticipation around each episode.”
The Benefits for Shareholders
By releasing episodes every week, Netflix could generate more revenue from subscribers. Nathanson notes that if ten episodes are released weekly, viewers would be on the hook for at least $29.98 compared to the current model, which only guarantees a minimum of $9.99 from a subscriber.
But What About the Viewers?
While shifting away from the binge model may benefit shareholders, the impact on viewers could be more precise. Spacing out episodes can allow plot points to soak in more effectively, and a loyal subscriber base could benefit everyone involved. However, some viewers may not appreciate their viewing habits being dictated by Netflix.
The Future of Streaming
As the streaming wars continue to intensify, it’s clear that the future of streaming is anything but certain. With new players like Disney+ and HBO Max vying for a piece of the pie, established players like Netflix must continue to evolve to stay ahead of the curve.
“It’s important to remember that not all viewers are alike,” says Ashley Rodriguez, a staff writer for Quartz. “While some may appreciate the slower release schedule, others may be turned off by the prospect of waiting a week between episodes. Ultimately, streaming services will need to strike a balance between meeting viewer demands and adapting to changing industry trends.”
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According to CNET, “it’s not just Netflix that’s shifting away from the binge-watching model.” Other streaming services like Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max have also started experimenting with weekly episode releases instead of dropping entire seasons simultaneously.
Meanwhile, according to an article in Forbes, the move away from binge-watching could positively impact the quality of TV shows. “By slowing down the release schedule, there’s more time to refine the episodes, fix any mistakes, and respond to viewer feedback,” writes contributor Dani Di Placido.
How Will Viewers Respond?
Moving away from binge-watching could benefit both streaming services and content creators. But what about the viewers? While some viewers may appreciate the slower release schedule, others may find it frustrating. For many, binge-watching has become a way of life, and waiting a week between episodes may seem unbearable.
“The future of streaming is all about experimentation,” says Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix. “We’re constantly trying new things and looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve. The weekly release model is just one example of how we’re evolving to meet the needs of our subscribers.”
Conclusion: The Future of Streaming
The shift away from the binge model is a significant change for Netflix and the streaming industry, and only time will tell how viewers will respond. As streaming services experiment with new release models, we may shift towards a more traditional TV viewing experience, with viewers tuning in each week for new episodes. But the future of streaming is far from certain, and the desires and expectations of viewers will shape the future of TV. As Netflix and other streaming services continue to adapt to changing viewer habits and preferences, the only certainty is that the streaming world is constantly evolving.