‘I’m Like a Guinea Pig—I’ll Take Anything’: An Explosion of Supplements Hits Tech’s Kitchen CountersRead Now

Illustration by Josh Brill

Why Netflix Rivals Are Ditching Binge Watching

By  |  Feb. 7, 2022 10:30 AM PST
Photo: Illustration by Josh Brill

Netflix turned itself into an entertainment empire by getting the world hooked on binge watching. That used to be a model rivals tried to copy, but now it’s starting to look outdated.

Cranking out entire original seasons to drop all at once is costly, and viewership can be hit or miss. And if users are accustomed to the instant gratification of bingeing, they’re more likely to cancel if they run out of things to watch. Netflix executives have been looking for more effective ways to deploy the company’s $17.5 billion programming budget, according to a person briefed on these discussions. But scrapping the binge model entirely isn’t on the table—Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos is adamant that doing so would make customers furious.

Younger competitors like HBO Max and Disney+, which don’t have as much content,  are meanwhile betting on the traditional TV model of rolling out episodes one by one. Part of that is because they simply can’t afford to get on the binge-watching hamster wheel of putting season after season out all at once to keep subscribers from quitting. “To expect a new series a week is a very expensive habit to fill,” HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys said. But executives are satisfied with the results, because spacing out releases generates buzz and keeps viewers hooked.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The 1:1 google
‘We Just Have to Keep Winning’: A Sonos Executive With a Colorful History Goes to War Against Google
Art by Clark Miller.
A few months into his job as chief legal officer of Sonos, Eddie Lazarus was ready to wage war. When Lazarus joined the audio hardware company in late 2018, it was facing growing competition from tech giants like Amazon and Google. Both companies were selling cheap speakers capable of multiroom audio playback, a feature Sonos had pioneered on its devices more than a decade earlier. Sonos...
Latest Briefs
 
Google Invests $300M in OpenAI Rival Anthropic
Bankman-Fried’s Company Used to Buy Robinhood Shares Files for Bankruptcy
Musk Found Not Liable in ‘Funding Secured’ Tesla Trial 
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Clark Miller.
The 1:1 google
‘We Just Have to Keep Winning’: A Sonos Executive With a Colorful History Goes to War Against Google
A few months into his job as chief legal officer of Sonos, Eddie Lazarus was ready to wage war. When Lazarus joined the audio hardware company in late 2018, it was facing growing competition from tech giants like Amazon and Google.
Silicon Valley's Latest Invention: The Supplement Stack
The Weekend culture ai
Silicon Valley's Latest Invention: The Supplement Stack
Greetings, and welcome to your Weekend! Today’s newsletter really ought to come with a surgeon general’s warning: “Consuming dozens of unregulated health supplements may not actually be awesome for your health.” It’s hard not to shake your head at the sheer number of nascent and untested substances that some of our tech-industry peers are swallowing.
A selection of AI-generated selfies (good ones on the left, duds on the right) of the author Zara Stone.
Market Research culture ai
Know Thy Selfie: A Journey Into the Uncanny Valley of AI-Generated Avatars
At 7 a.m. on August 22, 2022, Yaron Inger woke up to find his business irrevocably changed. The co-founder and chief technology officer of Lightricks , which develops Facetune and other popular media-editing apps, scrolled through his newsfeed, his eyes flicking from one image to another.
Art by Mike Sullivan.
Exclusive crypto
Genesis Creditors Could Miss Out on Recent Crypto Rally
Crypto prices have risen since parts of crypto lender Genesis filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy last month, lifting the value of customers’ crypto assets stuck in Genesis accounts.
Art by Clark Miller.
The Big Read culture
‘I’m Like a Guinea Pig—I’ll Take Anything’: An Explosion of Supplements Hits Tech’s Kitchen Counters
When Courtney Reum wakes up in his Los Angeles home, it’s time to freeze, shake and dangle upside down.
Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos. Art by Mike Sullivan
Exclusive e-commerce amazon
How Amazon’s Bricks-and-Mortar Dreams Hit a Wall
If Amazon’s ambitious vision for becoming a power in bricks-and-mortar retail had gone to plan, last month would have been a big milestone for the company.