Netflix, for one, has had success touting binge viewing. Its customers can be found viewing all 13 episodes of its original series “House of Cards” in one weekend.
But binge viewing doesn’t help Netflix’s long-term business plan, because the same viewers will be looking for something new next weekend. Can Netflix keep up that kind of production pace? Of course not.
It’s probably better to space out the release of your original programming jewels. Then, you can tease consumers to keep them coming back. And you can promote other programming. This is how advertising-supported networks have been doing it for some time -- like forever. Even HBO – which, as a non-ad-supported service, is the closet precursor to Netflix -- has been doing this for decades.
It’s a different story for Netflix, which has big production plans. But unlike CBS, TNT, NBC, AMC, HBO or almost any other network, it doesn’t plan to parse out its valuable commodity to sell advertising time and promote other stuff.
We understand Netflix is trying to break new ground. About a decade ago, few believed that shortened TV series – say 13 episodes -- would allow cable networks to survive, let alone keep viewers coming back. But they’ve succeeded with that business model. And some of it has rubbed off on the broadcast networks -- though many of their shows still have 22-episode seasons.
But you can’t binge-view the new seasons of “How I Met Your Mother,” “Scandal,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “Louie C.K.,” “True Blood” or “Homeland” until the season ends. It’s part of the current deal viewers have made with the TV industry.
So binge viewing is a good value for consumers, but maybe less so for a Netflix.
Now ask your favorite network this question: How many of your viewers are actually consistent binge viewers -- and what TV behaviors have really changed?