Streaming TV’s Battle of the Binge: Drop all episodes at once or dole them out weekly?

Apple TV+ is home to the biggest directors and top stars
Apple TV+ is home to the biggest directors and top stars

“Disney+ bets on a seven-day rollout, Netflix sticks to all-at-once drops and Apple TV+ experiments with both as the strategies spark a data debate and ‘a gut-level conversation…about what shows are better suited to which rollout,'” Natalie Jarvey writes for The Hollywood Reporter:

When Disney+ users logged in to the service for the first time Nov. 12, they found thousands of classic movies and television shows. But there was only one, 40-minute episode of the service’s most high-profile original series, Jon Favreau’s Star Wars-adjacent The Mandalorian. For now, Disney plans to roll out all of the streamer’s originals on a weekly basis, showing its commitment to a legacy TV release strategy in an era when, thanks to Netflix, audiences are accustomed to having all the programming they can devour at their fingertips.

Hollywood has been weighing the merits of the binge model ever since Netflix popularized it with House of Cards in 2013. But with four streaming services expected to launch by the end of 2020, the question of how to release a TV show is taking on new urgency.

Each platform is approaching the calculation differently: Apple, which dropped its first batch of TV+ shows Nov. 1, has opted for multiple rollout strategies. It released Hailee Steinfeld period comedy Dickinson all at once but only the first three episodes of dramas The Morning Show, See and For All Mankind, which will unfold weekly.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, 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!


    1. I am a subscriber and I don’t necessarily want them all at once . There is enough all-at-once content out there to watch. I find the two Apple TV shows I’m hooked on, Morning Show and For All Mankind a bit exciting in the anticipation of the next episode. It makes it more special and extends being in that fantasy for weeks instead of days.

      And on the other hand I also find myself sometimes waiting for two episodes to drop so I can watch a double feature. I do the same with Star Trek Discovery on CBS although in that case once they are all posted I will watch them all again in binge so I can figure out WTF is going on. 😉

  1. All at once is nice so i can set my own pace for watching the show. What I’m really ticked at is all the creators are making these short 8 episode seasons. So of the shows seems rushed or don’t go into detail about story or character to keep a season down to 8 episodes. When growing up TV was a 8-9 month long season, then short rerun summer season then back to regular season again. Since then season keep getting shorter and shorter. Make a season 12-15 episodes more than you could watch in a normal weekend and you cut down on the binge watchers watch a season in a weekend.

    1. Agree. Over the past decade the existing method for OTA broadcasts of 18-20 episodes has caused me to lose interest in a number of series. When a show ends in early May and doesn’t start up again until Oct-Nov and the network shifts their schedule to another day and time, you lose track of the show… or forget about it entirely.

      Another thing is the current trope of ending a season on a cliffhanger. Unless a show is invested for multiple seasons, that has to stop. I think this one issues pisses off views more than anything. Seasons need to end with an episode that wraps up the series in case it doesn’t get renewed.

  2. I much prefer new shows released weekly.
    I am dissapointed with how Mandalorian is actually playing out. 8 episodes… but at about 1/2 hour each they have basically made a 4 hour movie and chopped it up and positioned it as their flagship launch series.

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