Netflix remains one of, if not the best streaming service available worldwide, thanks to its expansive catalog of movies, TV shows and documentaries. Though, Netflix’s high-quality original series are key to keeping the streaming service on top, and they know that.
Ever since Netflix decided to dabble in producing/directing their own series, they’ve stuck to an “all-in” release schedule–releasing the whole season at once instead of drip-feeding episodes like cable TV. However, Netflix announced they may be switching this release method up a bit, with some series converting to a weekly release schedule. Never fear though, Netflix assured everyone that most original series will retain the “all-in” method.
But is there a good reason to rely on the drip-feeding method? Last time I checked, the whole season being available at once is one of the most beloved features across Netflix’s subscriber base, so fix what isn’t broken?
A Lack of Reason (to Stay)
It’s no secret Netflix is suffering from a gradual decline in subscription numbers, though the reasoning for this is anyone’s guess. It could be the fact Netflix is making a habit of raising their prices, or it could a side effect of the growing competition against Netflix, with Disney and Apple releasing their own streaming services.
I’ll throw my hat into the ring really quick and bet this change of release method is to test their hypothesis that subscribers are only subscribing to binge certain Netflix shows and unsubscribing after.
The only reason my claim isn’t foolproof is because of Netflix’s reply to the Complex article that started this discussion. Netflix says the weekly-episodes method will only be for certain shows, such as The Great British Baking Show.However, time will tell if Netflix is telling the truth or if they are testing the waters to see what has people unsubscribing.
While waiting a week for the next episode of a TV show is annoying, it does have its upsides, most notably the low chance of being spoiled.
For some reason, many people love spoiling the endings and events of TV shows, and Netflix’s shows aren’t immune to this. And giving these users the ability to binge a show in less than a day? I’d call that a recipe for disaster.
Releasing episodes over the span of a couple months ensures no one can be spoiled before they have a chance to watch it. For example, my friend is a big Stranger Things fan but wasn’t able to watch season 3 until a couple weeks after the release. But right before he got the chance, a random user on Reddit private messaged him spoilers for the ending.
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Keeping viewers on the same pace would help eliminate the spread of spoilers, but then again, they’d be restricting the viewers to a set schedule, which is–again–annoying.
Does it Matter?
In the grand scheme of things, of course not. But Netflix carries the reputation of “Binge Central”, where subscribers can expect to carve out a whole weekend for the latest season of a show; removing this “tradition” would be damaging to their reputation–as unimportant as it is–causing users to check out the competition.
Though, the competition seems to be converting to a weekly release schedule as well, since Disney+ confirmed weekly episodes as their main form of the content rollout. This brings up a new question; is streaming becoming the new cable?
Well, that discussion is for another time. However, when it comes to methods of series rollouts, I’m sure people will forget about it in a week. Stranger Things would remain a great show, 13 Reasons Why would stay controversial and Netflix will still stand as the most popular streaming service.
In the end, change to weekly episodes wouldn’t change anything: your VPN for viewing Netflix would still work, you’ll still be able to watch the show and vice versa. All of this might just become a bit less convenient.