Back in Netflix’s heyday, it owned binge watching. (It’s not called “Netflix and chill” for nothing.) But years passed, the original streaming service is suffering, and its competition–like HBO Max and Disney+—have returned to the ancient art of weekly releases. So should Netflix make the switch, too?
Some fans think so. “I truly do believe that Netflix could’ve owned the next 9 weeks of conservation on the internet by releasing Stranger Things weekly,” reads one tweet with more than 100k likes. “It’d have generated more theories and discussions over the 9 weeks and absolutely shrunk the impact Obi-Wan & Ms Marvel will have. Instead it’s dead.”
A compelling point, and one we’ve seen in action for weekly shows like Euphoria and WandaVision, or during Game Of Thrones’ run. Even so, Netflix’s Squid Games was the most-tweeted about show in 2021, so Netflix has reason to be confident about its model (if nothing else).
Not to mention, it’s the model that made Stranger Things a hit in the first place. “For the fans of Stranger Things, this is how they’ve been watching that show, and I think to change that on them would be disappointing,” Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s Head of Scripted Series for U.S. and Canada, said during a panel on Tuesday, per Variety. “To not give them exactly what they’ve been expecting—which is Stranger Things is a seasonal experience, they go through that with them—I think that it would be an abrupt change for the member.”
“We fundamentally believe that we want to give our members the choice in how they view,” he continued. “And so giving them that option on these scripted series to watch as much as they want to watch when they watch it, is still fundamental to what we want to provide. And so when you see something like a batched season with Stranger Things, this is our attempt at making sure we can get shows out quicker to the members.”
Friedlander acknowledged that the streamer has done weekly releases for its unscripted or competition series. However, the strategy won’t extend to scripted content, which is “really about servicing” Netflix’s subscribers “in more expedient ways.”
“That’s what you see [with Stranger Things] and that’s what you see with Ozark,” he said. “So we have had some experimentation in that space. But it’s also, you’re giving multiple-episodic-viewing experiences, it isn’t a standalone. So it really does, what we think, honors our relationship with our members and what their expectations are.”
It may not always win the Twitter conversation, but Netflix and binge watching still go hand in hand. Might as well stay true to the brand!