The practice of releasing all the episodes of a season at once, the so-called binge release, was pioneered by Netflix and is often credited as one of the main innovations that propelled the company to become the top streaming platform years ago. But is it actually the best strategy for streamers?
It is believed that giving fans the opportunity to immerse themselves in a show and removing the waiting time between episodes made the experience more enjoyable for the audience. In its latest shareholder letter, Netflix even said: “For example, it’s hard to imagine how a Korean title like ‘Squid Game’ would have become a megahit globally without the momentum that came from people getting over it. We believe that the opportunity 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.”
This statement seems to reinforce Netflix’s commitment to the binge-release strategy, after some speculation that the platform may have considered adjusting distribution for originals. Other platforms such as Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ rely on a weekly release strategy to keep audiences and social media engaged with a show over an extended period of time.
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Over the past few years, the number of out-of-print titles in the top 50 most successful streaming releases has fallen – along with the share of demand. In 2019, 72% of the top 50 programs released that year had a binge release, and they were responsible for 64.4% of the total demand for the top 50 new titles, according to Parrot Analytics’ data, which takes into account consumer surveys , streaming, downloads and social media, including engagement.
These shares have dropped to 62% of the number of shows and 57.5% of demand in 2020. 2021 marked a turning point. More shows in the top 50 had a periodic release than a binge release that year for the first time in many years.
So far in 2022, only 9 of the top 50 new streaming originals were binge-released. While most of these shows were Netflix originals, they aren’t the only ones that have been released. Two Prime Video productions, “Reacher” and “The Terminal List,” also made the top 50 ranking. Binge-released shows made up just 13.8% of the demand share for the top 50 new releases that year.
It may be that the drop in the share of binge-release series among the top streaming originals reflects the lower number of Netflix productions in that ranking. In 2022, Netflix releases have lost ground to highly demanded series from its competitors such as HBO Max, Disney+ and Paramount+. These three platforms dominated the ranking of the most requested new shows in 2022, accounting for the top six new releases of the year.
The most requested title released in 2022 so far is HBO Max’s Our Flag Means Death, with 29.9 times more demand than the average during the year. Another very successful series from the same platform is “Peacemaker”, which belongs to the popular DC series. In fact, half of the shows that make up the top 10 ranking were part of a franchise.
Besides “Peacemaker,” all of the year’s top Disney+ releases — “Moon Knight,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” as well as a Paramount+ flagship show “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” — are part of a well-established franchise. Netflix, on the other hand, only has one show on the top 10 list (“The Sandman”). Netflix’s most successful release of the year so far, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” is still too new to qualify among the best new releases of the year.
“The Sandman” was also the only show among the 10 most in-demand titles released in 2022 to over-release. All of the other shows on that list followed either a weekly release or a serial release where a handful of episodes were released at a time, but not the entire season.
Aside from “The Sandman,” the most requested binge-released new show of 2022 was Prime Video’s “Reacher,” with 12.6 times more demand than the average title year to date, making it the 12th most requested title released. that year.
Daniel Quinaud is a senior data analyst at Parrot Analytics, a WrapPRO partner. For more from Parrot Analytics, visit the Data and Analysis Hub.
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