Apple and Disney look to disrupt Netflix’s binge-watching model

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Apple and Disney prefer to release series’ episodes the old-fashioned way: once a week.

Melody Hahm for Yahoo Finance:

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.


  1. Do people really sign up, binge then quit at trial end? Maybe some, but I doubt much. Seems pretty pathetic for those that due. Won’t save much more than a lunch’s worth on price.

    1. @trondude A lot of people join/start a free trial and cheat it, then cancel before the payment(For the trial). Some people wait a little bit to binge one or multiply shows at one time but only sign up for select months. I don’t do this stuff, but I get why people do. Still, Netflix should not switch or start to introduce non-binging specific things. We should be allowed to watch as we please.

  2. This is akin to Apple telling viewers who enjoy binge watching that they’re doing it wrong (you’re holding it wrong). Personally I don’t want to watch programs in a once a week manner. True on demand feels like the future. Once a week feels like Apple clinging to the old model and grumbling for the stupid kids to get off it’s lawn. Wake up Pipeline.

    1. For shows that are on network television, Netflix does the same as everyone else, waits until the entire season is done, then makes the entire season available for those that like binging. All it requires for this to work is for the binger to have a bit of self control. BUT, I guess if they had self control, they WOULDN’T be a binger?

  3. Netflix gives customers what they want with respect to watching – all episodes at once. Apple decides to force customers to watch the old fashioned way, which most don’t want. I prefer binge watching. I don’t know anyone who watches episodic TV who “prefers” the IV drip of once a week. Ray Donovan and Homeland are released that way and people tend to wait till are are released before they start watching.

    I don’t care much for Apple’s early decisions. Leftist programming with “stale stars” instead of great series. The best series I have watched featured actors I had really never heard of before. Apple gives us Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. And Samuel Jackson. Now, they give us series that take six months to watch.

    1. Apple isn’t forcing anybody to do anything. I binge-watch most network series (anyone with a DVR or Hulu subscription can, too). That way I know that I won’t waste my time watching a series that will be cancelled halfway through a story arc. I can do the same with Apple TV+ programming. It doesn’t take six months to watch any series on television, though there are series that you can’t watch in their entirety until after the season ends six months from now.

  4. I’m disappointed. Apple TV has neither a handful of shows of its own neither a library of licensed material. How do you hope to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Netflix or Disney+ or Amazon if they have hundreds or thousands of shows and you have precisely 9? None of those other services started exclusively with original content. The 4,99 price point is laughable if you take this into account.

  5. Disney+ may actually make a dent but AppleTVOxygenNet+ definitely will not anytime soon. I’m getting both free right now because i’m on verizon and a multi-iphone owner–BUT as it stands, there’s no way i can justify renewing AppleTV+ if it’s not free. The library is minuscule–and the content that it does have–although well-made–is just wretch-inducing woke BS and faux feminism writing. Who’s gonna pay to watch oprah? Even See and The Morning Show.. w/ there limited attraction cannot compel folks to pay for that..sorry Apple, I want you to succeed in worst way but this offering is insulting..

  6. Don’t you bloody dare Apple! I rarely get time to sit and watch TV and often it’s for a good binge. Network TV makes want to stab my eyes out, partly due to the trickle of the show over months.

    1. Just wait until the show’s done. LIke, just ignore it all season and, once an entire season is available, watch it! It’s exactly the same as binging.

      Two years from now, folks will be binging the first couple seasons of SEE or whatever.

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