Insights

Peacock's Release Strategy Experiment: Binge, Weekly, or Hybrid?

9 December, 2021

Peacock has had some success lately with its new original series premieres.  Here we compare three different shows which have taken different approaches to releasing episodes. Tracing the demand for each reveals the pros and cons to each release strategy.

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The Lost Symbol was recently among the top breakout shows in the US.  We can see how its weekly release schedule kept audiences engaged for the longest time, growing demand each week.  The show achieved its highest demand in its final two weeks. Of course the benefit of growing audience demand over a sustained amount of time and ending on a high note is that when episodes do eventually stop, audience attention starts tapering off from a much higher point. This steady upward trajectory followed by a drop-off from the highest demand point generally allows a show to stay in-demand for a longer time.

Rutherford Falls took the "Netflix approach", dropping all 10 of its episodes at once.  The pattern of demand for these shows is clear - a demand peak within the first two weeks and then a slow steady decline in interest. This type of "binge-release" strategy is designed to maximize the attention around a series premiere. One consideration about how binge-release shows fit into the broader Peacock catalog is that so many of the shows on Peacock release episodes weekly by virtue of making linear shows available next-day on the platform. It may be important to cater to multiple viewing preferences - both bingers and those who prefer a weekly cadence - when taking a holistic view of all of a platform's offerings.

Charting a middle path between these two strategies is One of Us is Lying which split its 8 episodes into batches dropped weekly for three weeks.  Doing this allowed it to have larger demand peaks in its first 3 weeks, but after that interest in the show quickly faded.  Three weeks from premiere, demand for the show was lower than both Rutherford Falls and The Lost Symbol. This show is a good reminder that when it comes to delivering content to audiences there are many possible options beyond just the simple binge vs. weekly dichotomy.


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