Commentary

Anti-Bingeing But Not Anti-TV Viewer: In A Glut TV Age

Media consumption seems to be moving at an ever faster pace, especially when one considers bingeing. But maybe faster isn’t always better.  

Hulu, perhaps the closest wannabe-Netflix competitor, is going to release episodes of its original TV series one episode a week -- pretty much like what traditional TV networks still do, and the opposite of Netflix’s  typical release of an entire season-worth of episodes all at once.

For Hulu, this timing will apply to the just-released "Difficult People,” “The Mindy Project,” a former Fox network show, as well as other new original-to-Hulu shows including “Casual,” "The Hotwives of Las Vegas,” “The Awesomes” and “RocketJump: The Show.”

From Hulu’s perspective, the thinking seems to be: Why rush? TV consumers have so much content, perhaps it’s better to slow down -- or at least offer up TV at a steady pace/diet.  

This isn’t to says TV networks aren’t responding to the new environment with its explosion of original video content. While networks don’t actively promote bingeing, they might benefit, according to some studies.

Separately  broadcast and cable networks have offered up shorter TV series seasons -- 13-episode seasons, 10-episode seasons, and 9-episode seasons, as well as now limited closed-end series.

Add in this: John Landgraf, chairman of Fox Networks Groups, said there will be more than 400 original scripted series from broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms this season: up from 371 in 2014,  about double 2010’s total of 213.

So everyone can’t get to see all the shows they want. Perhaps there will be much-delayed exposure to some TV series —if at all. Landgraf worries many will be hurt financially.

Given the glut of TV shows -- as well as the wildly diverse ways of releasing TV programs -- TV consumers might fare well with a default mode of entertainment consumption.  The traditional weekly release schedule from Hulu then makes sense.

5 comments about "Anti-Bingeing But Not Anti-TV Viewer: In A Glut TV Age".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, August 11, 2015 at 3:58 p.m.

    Your opinion is valid, but so, too, is the view that tradition simply ain't what it used to be. That Hulu is owned by tradition-bound broadcasters makes their decision to make viewers wait a week when they don't want to wait a week very consistent with their other quaint requirements, e.g., that we watch DVR shows in the first 7 days to make Poltrack happy. As for Landgraf, it's only a glut of shows if you watch them all. And if you only watch what you want when you want, waiting a week is just another weird tradition from those who want their audiences to behave as if it were still 1992.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 11, 2015 at 5 p.m.

    Douglas, Nielsen has reported that the amount of delayed viewing for primetime shows that takes place after seven days is minimal---about 2-3%----so David may be happy about this, as you say, but, if so, he is also right.

    As regards your criticism of Hulu for making people wait seven days for each new episode, which, of course, you attribute to its network parentage and outmoded thinking, this makes perfect sense to me. Contrary to the host of badly done and highly misleading polls on the subject, not everybody is a dedicated "binge" viewer and this form of TV consumption is, in fact, an occasional activity for only part of the population. The average Netflix user watches about a hour of Netflix content per day...but how can that be if they are all "binge" viewers and this is the only way they consume content? Why isn't the figure 3-5 hours a day per subscriber?

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 11, 2015 at 8:55 p.m.

    A correction regarding my post, above, about delayed viewing. Nielsen has reported the going from 3 to 7 days in delayed viewing adds only 2-3% to a primetime telecats's audience. Obviously the percentage of viewers added beyond 7 days is even smaller.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 11, 2015 at 8:56 p.m.

    That's "telecast's" not "telecats's", of course. Sigh!

  5. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, August 12, 2015 at 5:20 p.m.

    "Media consumption seems to be moving at an ever faster pace, especially when one considers bingeing. But maybe faster isn’t always better."

    FALSE, FALSE & FATUOUS!

    Wayne, TV Consumption only has one speed, unless you've entered the TARDIS and are time traveling like the good Doctor (Who).

    To fulfill your last TV Prophecy, I am fast-forwarding my reading, so I can pretend I never saw this "Critique."  So what are the standards for critiques as opposed to news, blogs & commentary?


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