Your Bad Habits Are Causing Streamers to Regress

Streaming Services are Killing Bingeing

June 16, 2021

Previously, we wrote about the slow, almost methodical death of free trials. Almost every popular service has nixed free trials: Netflix, Disney+, most vMVPD's (like YouTube TV and Sling TV). This week, we'll look at another trend that seems to be taking hold: The return of weekly release schedules for TV.

Streamer's Spotlight: Guess What? Bingeable TV Is Bad for Business

The rise of cord-cutting, on-demand streaming services also birthed an entirely new concept for TV watchers: episode bingeing. To be fair, we've been bingeing TV episodes for decades. Cable TV networks frequently blocked off several hours to for back-to-back broadcasts of syndicated TV shows or movie series. And of course, the popularity of TV series on VHS or DVD made it easy to binge on your own time.

However, on-demand streaming made it so that we could binge entire series of popular shows without having to purchase sometimes costly DVD box sets. That model, mostly popularized by Netflix, was an absolute game-changer. It created the business model of dropping every episode of new episodic shows onto services all at once.

The drawback for the model, however, is that it disincentives patronage, especially for services that have spotty release schedules for new or popular shows. Many of us were binging popular shows, then canceling or suspending our accounts until the next big series dropped. That leads to massive revenue disruptions for on-demand streaming services.

Market Saturation and Competition Make Long-Term Stays More Important

Now that on-demand streaming is reaching market saturation and competition has increased, service providers are faced with a few choices. One, they could increase prices to offset the binge-cancel-binge culture. Pricing wars don't fit well into many business models, however. Another option is to make it more difficult to cancel your subscription. Consumers by and large hate that, and may never come back after the first time they cancel, however.

Instead, it seems many providers have chosen to hop back in time and pick up the same episode release model of their forefathers. Streaming services are now starting to drip content out at a regular schedule, once a week. The benefit of this (for the provider) is that it keeps users from bingeing and them canceling until the next big series or season releases. And while providers still have people on board as they drip out that content, they can work on getting the next release out before the older one ends.

For its part, Netflix began testing the weekly release model

. And Disney+ has been using this model for its entire existence. They're far from alone. Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) is using that model for its most popular shows, including its new

Star Trek

series. Note that this isn't for the benefit of consumers in any way; it's not an altruistic effort to reduce the health risks associated with bingeing TV. This model is 100% for the benefit of the company and its bottom line.

We're in the last days of free trials, friends. And it seems we're in the last days of being able to binge new release original TV shows, as well.

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Choose Your Own Adventure with Netflix's 'Headspace: Unwind Your'

Netflix dives deeper into the CYOA concept. Explore your own mindfulness today (June 15). -

2. 'Record of Ragnarok' Anime Zooms to Netflix

"Before eradicating humankind from the world, the gods give them one last chance to prove themselves worthy of survival." Watch on Netflix this Wednesday (June 16). -

3. Bring the Kids! Disney+ Film 'Luca' Available this Friday

This original animated film from Disney explores a coming-of-age tale set in a seaside Italian town. -

4.  'Ricky and Morty' Returns with Season 5

What else needs to be said here? It's

Rick and Morty

, people! Streaming starts at 11 PM this Sunday (June 20) on Adult Swim. -

News and Industry Developments

1. Disney+ Casts Jameela Jamil of 'The Good Place' in She-Hulk Series

The actress will be playing the villain, which seems fitting if you've seen

The Good Place

. -

2. Netflix Opening Online Store to Sell Merchandise

Many products will be based on concepts from Netflix's popular TV series and movies. -

3. Petition from 'Lord of the Rings' Fans Demands No Nudity in the Show

After rumors appear to indicate that the show may contain nude and sex scenes, some fans are up in arms. -

4. Someone Is Making a 'Lord of the Rings' Anime, Apparently

The prequel movie is tentatively titled 'The War of the Rohirrim'. -

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