The internet is once again rife with speculation that Netflix is dropping, “moving away” or “abandoning” its binge model in favor of going to a more traditional weekly release schedule. Is this true and where are the rumors coming from? Let’s take a look.
The binge vs weekly debate has been raging on for years now. We’ve debated it at length and while there are pros and cons for both release schedules, it’s not a one size fits all solution for any streamer.
Where is the rumor of Netflix switching coming from?
Let’s address the reports that have surfaced from Murphy’s Multiverse, Collider, and ScreenRant over the last few days.
All of them state Netflix is looking to ditch the binge format in favor of weekly releases. This would be quite a 180 on their strategy but Netflix hasn’t officially announced this so where are they getting the information from?
It originates from Puck News, specifically the “What I’m Hearing…” newsletter. Said newsletter is a place for Matthew Belloni, former editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter, to report on things he’s hearing and note down some of his general thoughts.
All these articles refer to the piece “The Book of Reed Hastings, Revisited.” Before we get into the paragraph, it’s important to look at the piece’s context. It’s looking back at the Reed Hastings published book released in September 2020. With the context of Netflix having a rough 2022 he looked back at some of Netflix’s key differentiations in the market place whether that be advertisements, theatrical releases and release strategy.
Let’s look at the paragraph in question.
It poses that the binge model goes away with a question mark. It uses a quote from an analyst who has been suggesting that Netflix should ditch its binge model for many years and goes into the ins and outs of why it may ditch it.
What it doesn’t say is that Netflix IS reconsidering its binge model. Collider even said that only the “biggest shows” will begin releasing weekly. How did they make that jump? Who knows.
Sadly, it looks like these outlets have stripped out the context and nuance of the article and not ultimately done much thinking of themselves.
Matthew Belloni has clarified that his article does, in fact, state that Netflix “should” move to the format rather than “is” but the clicks have been collected and it remains viral on Twitter.
Netflix will continue to experiment and switch up its release schedule
For years now, Netflix Original series have had experimental release schedules for its series and even movies.
The most traditional are shows where Netflix has international rights and then drops titles weekly. K-dramas are good examples of this where they air first in South Korea before being put up onto Netflix on a weekly schedule. This is even more common internationally where select Netflix regions get new episodes of The Flash, Riverdale, and Better Call Saul.
For a few years, reality shows have been released in different release schedules. Whether that’s in monthly/weekly batches or over the course of a week.
Looking ahead to the end of the year, we’re seeing Unsolved Mysteries Volume 3 released over three weeks. Perhaps most ambitious is the release of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities which will release over a 5-day period.
The biggest switch-up we’ve seen recently has been with splitting up seasons. Stranger Things and Ozark are two massive examples of this in 2022 but before then Lucifer experimented with the format too.
In conclusion, there’s no evidence or signs Netflix is moving back to a traditional release format. Even streaming services like Disney+ and Amazon, which have been known for weekly drops or moving to weekly drops, haven’t ditched binge completely. Big Shot will drop on Disney+ all at once and Amazon Prime Video still reserves weekly drops for its biggest titles only.
As the years go by and streaming becomes more fierce, Netflix may experiment more and conclude that weekly is the best release format but for now (as they said in September 2019), they’re not changing.
Do you wish Netflix went to weekly episode drops or stick to binge? Let us know in the comments.