Despite rumors to the contrary, Netflix says it has no plans to stop dropping all episodes of a TV show at once for binge-friendly viewing.
“We think our bingeable release model helps drive substantial engagement, especially for newer titles,” Netflix said in its Q3 shareholder letter, as part of announcing quarterly results Tuesday. “This enables viewers to lose themselves in stories they love.” The company’s comments come after the Puck newsletter last month reported that Netflix execs were mulling a change to binge strategy and release major titles on a weekly schedule.
Netflix, which pioneered the practice of binge-releasing TV seasons in their entirety, said it’s sticking with that game plan.
“It’s hard to imagine, for example, how a Korean title like ‘Squid Game’ would have become a mega hit
globally without the momentum that came from people being able to binge it,” Netflix said in the shareholder letter. “We believe the ability for our members to immerse themselves in a story from start to finish increases their enjoyment but also their likelihood to tell their friends, which then means more people watch, join and stay with Netflix.”
The binge-release approach helped “drive significant interest” in Ryan Murphy’s “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” which is now its No. 2 English original series in the initial 28-day window, according to Netflix. The company included a chart from Google Trends, which it said illustrated how the ability to watch all 10 episodes of “Monster” — all released on Sept. 21 — drove a much bigger spike in search queries for “Dahmer” relative to non-bingeble Amazon’s Prime Video “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and HBO’s “The House of the Dragon.”
Netflix does release some reality series, like “Love Is Blind” and “The Circle,” in groups of episodes spread over several weeks. In addition, it has split apart the most recent seasons of high-profile titles like “Stranger Things,” “Ozark” and “Money Heist” to maximize viewer interest and engagement.
In some cases, according to Netflix, an entire TV season isn’t available in its entirety because the title is licensed from a network “and the episode will usually be available on Netflix the day or week after it was broadcast on its original network.”
All that said, Netflix for years disavowed any interest in the advertising biz — only to have a change of heart earlier in 2022 after its subscriber rolls shrank. For example, in January 2020, CEO Reed Hastings said that with a no-advertising subscription model, the company will “actually get to larger revenue, larger profits, larger market cap because we don’t have the exposure to something that we’re strategically disadvantaged at, which is online advertising against those big three,” referring to Google, Facebook and Amazon. Fast forward to today, and Netflix is about to launch cheaper, ad-supported plans in 12 markets next month.
Pictured above: Evan Peters in Netflix limited series “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”