Apple and Disney prefer to release series’ episodes the old-fashioned way: once a week.
Netflix, once the disruptor on the streaming scene, has become the ultimate incumbent… Given Netflix’s head start in both building the streaming platform and making original content, the company has been an influential player in establishing the new rules of the previously uncharted territory. The most significant change between the TV experience then and now is the advent of binge watching, which is when you watch multiple episodes of a show in a row.
With binge watching, viewers get hooked on a show and staying glued to their TVs as one episode blurs into the next. But they also allow viewers to sign up for a free trial period and unsubscribe after a weekend of binging.
New players Apple TV+ and Disney+ are experimenting by going back to traditional models of television — choosing to adopt weekly release strategies to make it harder for users to leave after watching a show in one sitting.
The concept of mindlessly continuing onto another episode — or two, or four, or the whole season(!) — has become an area of scrutiny among academics and health advocates alike. Two professors at Michigan State University conducted a study that essentially found binge watching is associated with unhealthy behavior, and ultimately, bad habits.
MacDailyNews Take: It makes no sense for Apple to release entire seasons all at once as they are currently building up a catalog from scratch and also running a 7-day free trial, plus customers who purchase any new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch get one year of Apple TV+ for free.
Weekly releases of episodes also greatly cuts down on spoilers! There is something to be said for anticipation vs. immediate gratification. Plus, with weekly releases, you never have that “Great, we watched them all in a weekend and now we have to wait another year for Stranger Things!” feeling. Too long a time elapses and then you find you’ve forgotten a lot! As with saline, it’s better to have a constant drip than all at once.
While Apple TV+ has released the entire first season of Dickinson, that is the exception, not the rule. Most Apple TV+ series premiere the first three episodes and then roll out new episodes weekly.