According to analyst Michael Nathanson, Netflix might abandon its binge-watching strategy for a fresh series. It wants to ensure that the recent drop in subscriber numbers was only a shock.
The Puck News What Im Hearing newsletter (opens in a new tab) examines cultural shifts involving Netflix, from departmental downsizing to the immediate adoption of an ad-supported tier, something previously perceived as heresy.
Netflix users may prefer to watch all episodes at once for each episode, but it''s also important to pay $1 a month for butterscotch ice cream sundaes, which is not a viable long-term business.
Belloni points out that certain recent series like Ozark and Stranger Things have experimented with a more drip-fed approach, releasing chunks of episodes in batches.
This has been a limited experiment, because CEO Reed Hastings sounded unable to switch off the binge model because he hasn''t been apprehensive or wanted, according to Belloni. It appears, he does, now.
Good for shareholders, but what about the viewers?
The benefits for shareholders should be evident immediately.
If Netflix adheres to its current system, it will get at least $9.99 from you as a one-month payment, but that might be all it can ever get if you rush the show in a week and then cancel.
If there are ten episodes released weekly, then youre on the hook for at least $29.98. Scale that up to millions of fans worldwide, and you may practically hear the ker-ching of cash machines.
Yes, you may just subscribe once all episodes are available, but Netflix knows that the ever-present threat of spoilers means that there is a large percentage of people who will want to watch each episode as it drops. As much as it can be said in real-time crudely, Netflix knows you''ll want to be involved in the gossip.
The question of whether the program works for the public is jeopardized.
On one hand, spacing out episodes may help plot points soak in more effectively, and, theoretically, a greater and more loyal subscribers base is beneficial for everyone. In short, the greater money Netflix makes, the more programs it can commission, and the less chance that your favourite series join the growing list of Netflix cancellations.
The viewer may notice that spaced-out episodes are ultimately better than the sugar rush of instant happiness, but some will still feel that Netflix is directing them.
Despite our sister website TV Technology (opens in a new tab) earlier this year, the switch away from binge-watching might be a trend to look out for across the board. If thats the case, then Netflix has little to lose by being a pioneer in the changing streaming landscape.