While viewers love the Binge TV feasts from Netflix, Stan, SBS On Demand and iview, the jury is still out on whether it is a better model for broadcasters than weekly episodes.
After all there is something to be said for creating fan conversation, and having the time to savour the intricacies of dense storytelling.
Speaking at Series Mania this week Foxtel’s Ross Crowley said while Netflix is committed to dropping all episodes at once, HBO had no plans to follow suit.
“HBO has no intention of dropping every episode at once,” he explained.
“They develop shows that are intended to be savoured, discussed before they drop the next one.
“Shows that re dropped episodically are far more popular, far more engaged, and far-reaching, in terms of audience participation than shows that are dropped on binge.
“At a conference last year there were at least 2 commissioners who said hypotehtically they would much rather have 8 million passionate fans than 10 million casual viewers.
“I think bingers will start to burn out a lot faster than we think, and we are starting to see the echoes of that already. Shows that might sustain if they had more time to be considered are now passing through so quickly, like Sense8, that they don’t have time to breathe, time to get people talking about them, and they don’t get time to live.
“What we really want to do, and it’s a challenge to all the writers here, is to give people pause for thought for a week. Take it away, mull it over, talk to your friends, debate and discuss it. Then come back and we will give you another piece to talk about.”
But SBS Programmer Peter Andrews, who did the deal for Handmaid’s Tale binge at SBS On Demand, said the model should vary, depending on the content.
“I think it’s a case by case situation,” he suggested. “At your own risk, from a broadaster’s point of view, you might decide to roll out a piece of content one way versus another way.
“I see it as an opportunity to build, measure, learn -to see what happens with one roll-out, learn from that and then apply it to the next. If there are any learnings, you can feed that back into the process.
“Maybe I am saying the same thing as you: there is no ‘one size fits all.’”