Is Netflix changing to weekly format? Will it work if they do?
Netflix revolutionized TV viewing when they introduced binge-watching to the masses; binge-watching wasn’t something new to the world. Viewers used to wait for the show to come out on DVD and then view the whole season slowly in their own time, it was the previous version of binge-watching, but then Netflix went live, and they provided the whole season of House of Cards, all at the same time. This was like something we’d never seen before in the realm of TV viewing, a new show with all the episodes available at the same time for the viewers to watch.
People flocked to Netflix because they allowed people to sit down on their couch and watch the new seasons of their favorite shows in its entirety at their own leisure time. The one episode per week format just seemed so outdated then, in our everything now culture where it doesn’t matter if you understand the whole thing, it only matters how fast you knew the information; this new binge format was a god sent.
Watch: Netflix is a platform for binge watching
But then news started to float in saying Netflix was trying out new formats where the streaming giant was slowly rolling out a weekly episode format with some outlets reporting the streaming giant is looking at The Witcher Season 2 to fully integrate the weekly format and abandon the binge format which was the bread and butter of the company since the start.
This news was not met with good reception by the public on Twitter with most calling it a cash grab attempt by the streaming giant. In 2019 the company for the first time lost subscribers which were not expected by the company, they were looking to add 300,000 new subscribers instead they lost more than 100,000 paying customers. After nearly a decade of operation, this was the first time losing subscribers for the company which resulted in the company’s shares to tumble.
Most people saw this as a way for Netflix to ensure viewers stay on their plan and not just jump into the site for a beloved show and quickly cancel their subscription when they are done. So, the question is, are they really going to change the format of Netflix, and is it going to work?
Is Netflix Changing The Format?
The answer to the question is no; they are not going to change the format of Netflix. The binge-watching format is not going to go away with the official twitter page for the streaming giant stating they are not moving away from binge-watching.
The whole thing started after people tuned in to watch 'The Great British Bake Off' and they were greeted by just a single episode and the format changed for the show from whole season to weekly episodic format. This was also followed by the announcement 'Rhythm & Flow', a reality show with Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, T.I, searching the next hip-hop star was said to be coming in on batches and not in a binge-able format. This prompted many outlets to come out with stories which said the company was leaving streaming.
Watch: Rhythm + Flow is a competition show where the judges are in search for the next hip-hop superstar
This was not the case; Netflix clarified they are only trying a new format for these two shows. 'The Great British Bake Off' was binge-able before because the whole episodes were available, but now the streaming service caught up with the original run of the show, so they can only show one episode at a time. 'Rhythm and Flow', on the other hand, was said to be coming in batch format because it is a reality show where there will be a winner and Netflix didn’t want to ruin the surprise.
Would It Work If They Really Decide To Abandon Binge?
In the long run, it may work, but there is going to be a huge backlash at the start, and there may even be a mass exodus of people leaving the streaming platform. Most of the other streaming platforms already provide weekly episodes of shows; Amazon releases one episode per week for their hit show 'The Grand Tour', Hulu is almost like watching network TV where almost all the series are in a weekly format. Disney Plus, the biggest rival of Netflix also recently announced they are going ahead with the weekly format; there was no backlash for them. So, why this type of treatment for Netflix?
The problem is simple; Netflix built its whole brand on providing people with episodes of their favorite shows in bulk and not in batches. They pioneered the binge-watching format, and now all the competition is going to the weekly TV format, but Netflix will not be allowed to. Imagine McDonald’s throwing away it’s burgers and making only Taco’s, it is not their brand, and people are not going to accept it. Now, Netflix is stuck in a position where if they switch to weekly format there may be better subscriber retention, but their whole brand is a binge, and the company doesn’t know how well the entire move will be perceived.
Watch: Netflix is gearing up for the release of The Witcher
It could work, it should work, but there are going to be massive consequences for the pioneers of binge-watching. The weekly format will allow the company to retain people who might love to hit and run after they are done with their favorite series. But, we do not see Netflix switching and leaving their binge format because people are not going to allow or accept it.