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Research: Does the Netflix Binge Viewing Model Still Work?

Pixabay
(Image credit: Pixabay)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—With Netflix’s stock price and business model under pressure from a rapidly evolving streaming landscape, new research from Diesel Labs examines the ongoing relevance of Netflix’s long-standing promotion of a binge viewing programming strategy.

Like many things in the streaming world, Netflix pioneered the strategy of simultaneously offering all episodes of a high profile series all at once so subscribers can binge view them. 

Disney+, Hulu and HBO Max have moved away from dumping full seasons all at once to a strategy of offering up new episodes once a week, much like traditional TV programming, so that the series can be more heavily promoted. 

This strategy, proponents say, will become even more important in the future as the streaming landscape matures and viewing fragments between major streaming services. Weekly releases, they say, have the major advantage of making it easier to promote a series so it can get more viewer attention. 

But is Netflix’s binging strategy really as outdated as its long standing opposition to offering a less-expensive ad-supported tier?

New data from Content Intelligence firm Diesel Labs examines that question by comparing audience engagement for some of the major platform’s largest releases.

Diesel Labs has examined the latest premieres of several top-tier streaming titles on multiple platforms including Disney+ and HBO Max, comparing audience attention before and after launch. After comparing the various streaming platforms and their strategy, Diesel has found that Netflix’s binge-releasing may be the most successful model.

(Image credit: Diesel Labs)
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The above data shows that Netflix hit "Stranger Things" and "Bridgerton" performed notably well, suggesting the binge-release model remains valuable for driving audience attention over time. 

That being said, it’s worth noting the huge bump that happened with the release Vol. 2 of "Stranger Things". 

It indicates, the researchers said, that Netflix may explore more multi-part releases in the future, dropping several installments of a show at once to satisfy binge-watchers but continue the momentum over more time

For weekly released shows, the researchers noted that there is a step up in attention for each new episode, which is most noticeable for "WandaVision" and "Euphoria". 

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.