×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Networks Challenge Netflix With New Binge-Streaming Strategy

April 10 will be a big day for bingeing. All 13 episodes of Steven Soderbergh’s series “The Girlfriend Experience” will be available to stream that morning, as will all six episodes of Andrew Dice Clay’s new comedy “Dice.” But neither show will stream on Netflix, the company that made binge viewing a thing. “The Girlfriend Experience” will premiere on Starz, and “Dice” will bow on Showtime, dropping on their respective digital and on-demand platforms hours ahead of their cable-television debuts.

Having watched subscription video-on-demand services generate massive buzz by delivering seasons of shows in toto, some television programmers have taken to binge releasing as a way to set their product apart in the too-much-TV era. And more are following suit.

“Broadcast is starting to replicate SVOD, that’s for sure,” said TBS executive vice president of programming Brett Weitz.

TBS made comedy “Angie Tribeca” available to stream when it premiered in January, part of a marketing offensive for the show that included a 25-hour marathon on the linear cable network. Parent company Turner Broadcasting had already experimented with binge releasing last year with TNT drama “Public Morals.” NBC did the same with summer drama “Aquarius.”

According to Weitz, shifts in viewer habits have made such moves low-risk.

“Those who consume on VOD and SVOD are a different consumer base than those who are going to consume things linearly,” he said.

But results have been mixed. “Angie Tribeca” had already been picked up for a second season when it premiered. “Public Morals” had not, and was canceled after its first. The drama debuted
to a decent 519,000 viewers 18-49 in Nielsen live-plus-seven numbers, but quickly fell off. The series finale drew fewer than half that number.

More precipitous was the decline of “Aquarius.” The series bowed to 1.9 million viewers in the demo, but the finale drew only 490,000. NBC renewed “Aquarius” nonetheless, citing multiplatform success. But the network hasn’t made a decision regarding future release strategy.

Ad-supported NBC and TNT can draw a straight line from bad ratings to low revenue; premium networks such as Showtime and Starz, not so much. Dependent on subscriber dollars only, the premium nets are emulating the streaming services in more than just scheduling strategy. In December, Starz announced a deal that allows Amazon Prime customers to subscribe to the network without a cable subscription. Showtime has similar deals with Amazon and Hulu. It makes sense for the premium cablers to deliver product to a growing base of paying
customers, digital or otherwise.

“Once you subscribe to Showtime, we’re happy to share our programming with you; that’s the beginning, middle and end,” said Showtime programming president Gary Levine. “Exactly what the timing is — exactly what device you watch it on — is practically irrelevant to us.”

More Digital

  • Quibi - Tim Connolly - Jim

    Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi Adds Ex-Hulu Execs Tim Connolly, Jim O'Gorman to Management Team

    Quibi, the mobile-TV startup led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman, has tapped several Hulu alums among its latest hires. Tim Connolly, formerly senior VP of partnerships and distribution at Hulu, has joined Quibi as head of partnerships and advertising. Jim O’Gorman, previously Hulu’s SVP of talent and organization, is now head of talent and [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

  • Crunchyroll Kun Gao - Joanne Waage

    Crunchyroll Co-Founder Kun Gao Moves Into Advisory Role, Joanne Waage Heads Anime Service as GM

    Kun Gao, co-founder and former general manager of Crunchyroll, has stepped aside from day-to-day management of the anime-streaming service, which is now led by general manager Joanne Waage. According to a Crunchyroll statement, Gao remains “very much involved” with the service as an adviser and is “continuing to work on several projects.” In addition, Gao [...]

  • Charter Communications logo

    Charter Reaches $174 Million Settlement on Internet-Throttling Fraud Suit

    Charter Communications agreed to a settlement valued at $174.2 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging the U.S.’s second-biggest cable operator defrauded broadband customers by failing to deliver promised internet speeds. According to the terms of the settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office, Charter will pay $62.5 million in direct refunds to 700,000 active broadband [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    #LogOutFacebook: NAACP Calls for Boycott, Civil Rights Groups Demand Board Changes

    The NAACP is calling on Facebook users to take part in a one-day boycott of the social network this Tuesday to pressure the company to do more against disinformation and racial discrimination. Separately, a coalition of about three dozen social justice groups called on Facebook to remove key executives from its board of directors. Facebook [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content