Netflix Might Abandon the Binge Model and Start Releasing TV Episodes Weekly

Netflix made binge-watching famous, but as the streaming industry looks more and more like cable with content split between a million competitors, Netflix may soon adopt cable’s traditional releasing model, too. According to Puck News, the platform is considering releasing episodes of TV shows weekly instead of all at once.

Puck’s new profile on Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings reports that “Netflix says there’s no hard evidence that week-to-week episodes reduce subscriber churn, but the Netflix churn rate has been inching higher, and it is now the only streamer with a default all-at-once strategy.” Because of this, Hastings “appears” to be willing to switch models after previously refusing to abandoning binge mode.

The argument for releasing episodes weekly is that it drums up consistent interest in a television show, whereas dropping an entire season of a series at once runs the risk of people binging the season in one weekend and then losing interest. Netflix sort of tested this model with this summer’s two-part release of Stranger Things, and we saw how long people talked about that. Of course, this weekly model would only apply to new releases, so you’ll still be safe to watch 10 hours of your comfort show at any time.

Release models is the latest in a series of changes Netflix has been toying with since it lost scores of subscribers earlier in 2022. The streamer just implemented an “extra home” fee in select countries for those who share their passwords with people in separate households, and it’s set to offer a cheaper, ad-supported plan for those on a tighter budget. Unfortunately, that plan may end up offering a smaller, worse catalog.