Several headlines are making the rounds of late that imply Netflix is going to change its drop-everything-at-once model into weekly releases instead, potentially shifting the binge-watching phenomenon it helped champion in the first place.
Well, those articles got it wrong. For the record, Netflix isn't going to veer away from dropping entire seasons of its original shows in one go. The idea of reverting to a weekly release model seems particularly timely, given that Disney+ confirmed just recently that it will drop episodes on a weekly basis. However, Netflix isn't following Disney's footsteps, unlike what those headlines are implying.
Netflix Isn't Switching To Weekly Episodes
Netflix replied to a Complex article saying that "multiple series" are already being released on a weekly model. However, this is only somewhat true. Indeed, some shows on Netflix don't drop all at once, however, these are licensed shows — or shows Netflix did not make itself, in other words.
The Great British Baking Show, for instance, has always been released weekly because of its licensing deals. This also applies to several Asian shows as well. One more recent example is Rhythm & Flow, though Netflix says it's only releasing those episodes weekly because it's a reality competition program and the company doesn't want to spoil who the winner will be.
The Binge-Watching Debate
Ultimately, though, Netflix has no broader plans to ditch its binge-watching release model and shift to weekly releases for all its content. It's still a topic of debate which model is better. Some say they prefer an entire season dropping all at once because this way, subscribers have the freedom to watch shows at a pace they see fit for them.
On the other hand, some people swear by the weekly release model since this way, shows don't disappear from the cultural conversation too quickly after premiering. Arguably, part of the fun of watching TV is talking to friends about what happened in a particular episodes. That has always been one of the huge draws of watching TV — participating in this communal, cultural experience and seeing the conversation unfold in real time.
But binge-watching almost dissolves that real-time quality, as people instead have to discuss seasons as a whole, and can't talk about them until others are finished watching since everyone will likely be on different episodes.
Whether that's something on Netflix's mind is uncertain, but for now, it should be made clear that the video streaming service isn't switching its binge-watching model anytime soon.