Industry News

Netflix disrupted entertainment with binge viewing. Now can it avoid disruption itself?

29 June, 2022

There’s a massive experiment playing out right now in front of hundreds of millions of people, with billions of dollars at stake and the future of entertainment on the line. It’s better known as the latest season of “Stranger Things.”

The experiment began last month, when Netflix released seven new episodes of its most popular show, making this season unlike the previous ones in a notable way: You couldn’t finish it the day you started it.

To most players in the streaming marketplace, that’s simply business as usual. To Netflix, it’s heresy. The decision to hold the final two episodes of “Stranger Things” until this weekend, five weeks after the first batch, represented a departure from the company’s signature innovation: the binge-watch. It has been more than a decade since Netflix pioneered the model of releasing full seasons of television shows at once, rather than one week at a time, and that concept of bingeing quickly became synonymous with the company. “Netflix’s brand for TV shows is really about binge-viewing,” co-chief executive Reed Hastings once said. “It’s addictive, it’s exciting, it’s different.”

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