The Binge-Watching Conundrum: Is It the Key to Success or a Fad?


The debate over the merits of binge-watching has reached a fever pitch, with some industry insiders arguing that it’s the key to driving customers to a streamer’s app. However, the general public consensus is that the act of discovering content on a platform, known as “findability,” is a significant challenge. A report from Digital Content Next likened the experience to flipping through a Blockbuster catalog, saying it takes too much time and ultimately kills consumer excitement.

According to a survey, around 60% of users have quit a streaming service because they felt they had seen everything there was to watch, while 36% reported finding the process of deciding what to watch exhausting. This frustration has led to a decrease in consumption, with consumers simply not watching as much due to the overwhelming choice.

Industry experts argue that the walled gardens created by providers, publishers, and platforms have led to a terrible user interface, which is becoming increasingly joyless. “Consumers see media as one entity, but providers, publishers, and platforms think of it as walled gardens, and they each want their walled garden to be best,” says Shapiro. “What that has created is the worst user interface in the history of media.”

Despite the challenges, some argue that the binge release model can work well for certain types of content. FX and Hulu’s decision to release the series The Bear in its entirety is an example of this. The show’s addictive pacing and short episodes make it perfect for bingeing, and comedies tend to perform better in this format.

However, the industry is starting to shift away from the binge model. Netflix’s introduction of an ad tier and its acquisition of live sports, comedy, and WWE programming indicate that the pendulum is swinging back towards the traditional network model. Sponsors prefer buying packages, and the weekly model offers more hits to advertise.

“It used to be ‘We’re leaning into binge. We shouldn’t have ads, either,'” says Shapiro. “Now the pendulum has swung completely back the other way. Everyone’s leaning more toward the traditional network thought process, which is that you need ads and subscriptions, and you need to keep people tuned in rather than signing out.”

Marah Eakin
Marah Eakin
Marah Eakin is a longtime writer and editor, having written for The A.V. Club, Vulture, USA Today, Reviewed, and other publications. She's covered everything from the best holiday candles on the market to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. She's passionate about all things beauty and fashion, and owns way, way, way too many eyeshadow palettes.

Latest stories


Related Articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!
Continue on app