Netflix's Bingeing Push: More Shows Or Just More Viewing?

Will streaming consumers be doing more bingeing with Netflix TV shows and movies in the near term?

Executives hope so, believing that viewers' devotion to a movie or TV show will separate it from competitors. But it also yields a key metric for streaming business success: Time spent on the platform.

In particular, a New York Times interview with Ted Sarandos, co-chief executive of Netflix, suggests that consistently high-quality streaming TV shows and movies are driven by what he calls “must-seen-ness.”  All that drives word-of-mouth conversation (through social media). 

A push for more bingeing -- non-stop episode-after-episode viewing -- could help Netflix combat the competition coming from an explosion of ad-supported streamers  (including Netflix's own ad-supported option).



Time spent on any platform is a big time. That may be why Sarandos is also focused on the time consumers give to viewing YouTube -- which has been growing, and according to Nielsen data, tops the streaming viewership share of Netflix.

For many, however, this is an apples-and-oranges comparison: The content on YouTube is primarily short-form video, which does not compete directly with Netflix.

Bingeing on Netflix, then, could solve issues going forward for the premium video streaming platform -- keeping viewers on the platform, which will be increasingly important to its advertisers.

At the same time, it will continue to make Netflix a must-have destination when it comes from competition from other premium streamers, especially from legacy media-owned streamers.

Sarandos seems to also suggest that less can be more -- that is, fewer programs -- if consumers are bingeing their favorite shows more. Netflix, and other streamers, do highlight recently released content to to help streamers with that.

At the same time, don't be fooled here. Netflix still has a massive $17 billion annual budget for total production/programming. They make a lot of stuff.

But how much exactly? And do consumers care?

Pulling up any streaming platform's home page can be vague in getting the scope and size of a platform's TV and movie content airing. 

Do they have 10,000 TV shows to watch... or 20,000? Are there multiple thousands of individual movie titles? How old are they and how many of them are new? Consumers may have a hard time wrapping their minds around the size of any streaming platform -- as compared to others.

If consumers' primary interest is about identifying key TV shows and movies that they want to see that push them for more bingeing time overall, the goal then would be expand their “favorites” list -- even slightly.

But what more intensive marketing tools does Netflix have to do that? 

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