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Frenzy and bust? Why is it time for Netflix shows to air every week?

Frenzy and bust? Why is it time for Netflix shows to air every week?

REVIEW: The Netflix binge model was once new and empowering for viewers. In the midst of intense competition, this gives everyone a perfect excuse to unsubscribe. Weekly episode drops would save Netflix from itself.

Netflix has been doing quite a bit of pushback lately. Backing off on how great sharing passwords was and backing off on whether it would agree to show ads to users. Part of that, of course, is that the company struggles to react to its backlash in the stock market and its total number of subscribers.

The long-term future of the company is, at the moment, seriously in doubt. However, the one basic premise the company would have to give up would be the most beneficial: Netflix should ditch the all-you-can-eat binge model and start airing its TV shows on a weekly episodic basis.

I’ve argued for years that the binge model is a terrible way to present television artistically. However, regardless of how individual viewers feel about it, it now makes sense for Netflix to swallow its pride and take a step back to move on.

Ten years ago, the Frenzy model was revolutionary. It was new and exciting. It was a break with the old guard and democratized the television experience, empowering viewers tired of quoting television for new shows.

But now he seems touched, almost old. Rival services have had the advantage of seeing both patterns and have mostly sided with traditional weekly episode drops, be it Hulu, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, HBO, Amazon Prime or Paramount Plus. Now it makes more sense for Netflix to stop being an outlier.

stranger things weekend

Let’s take Stranger Things 4 in isolation. People have waited over three years for this to happen, and the first six episodes have been consumed at an incredible rate, breaking Netflix records. If you signed up to watch and you did it over a weekend, Netflix kicks you out for a month. If I left the shows once a week, I could have two. This is basic economics, but it goes much further.

What Netflix is ​​really missing is the weeks and weeks of rumors and media coverage that could surround its shows. The episode summaries, the written previews of the episodes, the Easter egg speculation, the character interviews, and the obsessions throughout the seasons grow week by week, and the sheer buildup of emotion that helps the best and most memorable television shows become cultural phenomena. extra hours.

With Netflix shows, there’s a week of buzz about new shows building buzz like Squid Game or Bridgerton, and then it fizzles out until the next one comes along.

Credit: Netflix

The idea is that people get hooked beyond Stranger Things 4 (or whatever) and stick around to see everything else in the company’s lineup. It may have worked just fine in the past, when Netflix had the streaming playground to itself, both in terms of original content and whatever it was hiding in the archives.

Now that archive has shrunk as content owners have seized their originals for their own branded streaming services. It also means there’s too much good for people to hold on to in Netflix’s bloated library of originals that lacks the depth of critically acclaimed top-tier series.

Each of the rival services has its signature trend-worthy shows, spread out over weeks and usually dropping one after another. It’s worth paying for an annual subscription because there’s always a hit to watch. With Netflix, it’s easy to sign up for a month and quit for six. Or, worse for business, just ask a family member, “Hey, can I borrow your Netflix password so I can watch Stranger Things?”

Take now for example. There’s Ms. Marvel and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus, The Boys Season 3 on Amazon Prime, For All Mankind Season 3 on Apple TV Plus, Barry and The Staircase on HBO, and Halo on Paramount Plus.

The Handmaid’s Tale and Only Murders In The Building are returning to Hulu, Westworld Season 4 lands on HBO this month, and The House of The Dragon in August. Amazon is just months away from releasing The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, and Ted Lasso is coming back to Apple TV Plus this summer. Disney Plus will soon have the MCU’s She-Hulk and standalone Star Wars Andor series, to dominate the pop culture landscape like those franchises always do.

Netflix doesn’t have that. There’s a weekend of people bombing Stranger Things, or Bridgerton (so the Internet doesn’t spoil them), or whatever hot show is currently on rotation.

Bottom display method

It might sound like a broken record here, but these series are written with the knowledge that viewers watch in a scoop or two.

The episodes are not well written, they are long and do not follow a good narrative structure. The episodes are mixed up and the hard-hitting moments don’t hit because they don’t have time to digest them. What’s the point of a cliffhanger if the characters aren’t suspended longer than it takes to press “Next Episode” before knowing if they’ve come back from the cliff?

Our brains aren’t designed to consume around six to eight hours of the same show and digest the finer points, and as a result, Netflix shows seem mundane and forgettable.

I often ask people “in what other context does the word binge have a positive connotation?” Still, personal preference goes a long way and there are millions who prefer Netflix’s instant gratification model to delayed gratification. Perhaps even a majority?

However, I now feel there is enough evidence to say that beyond that debate, it makes sense for Netflix, with a reduced content release and a greater focus on quality rather than quantity, to admit that it’s time to go back to the future. . Give us something to look forward to every Friday night and keep us subscribed.

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