Nearly half of consumers want all episodes at once, despite streaming services are headed in the other direction, according to a Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter poll. More exactly, 49% of the 2,329 adults surveyed, including 63% of current streaming subscribers, prefer streaming services to release all episodes at once.
Alternatively, 14% said they liked a few episodes to be released at the start followed by weekly releases, and an equal share preferred one episode to be released each week. The poll’s margin of error is 2% points.
While Netflix has made itself synonymous of binge-watching, one of its competitors — Hulu — has strayed from that model. While it has released full seasons of some originals, including “Looking for Alaska,” others, such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” release a few episodes at once before moving on to a weekly schedule. And new players are following that model.
While entire seasons of certain shows, including “Dickinson,” were released on Friday, Apple Inc. premiered three episodes of each of its other originals, including “The Morning Show,” and plans to release new episodes of those shows weekly. Disney+ will also reportedly make use of a weekly release schedule. Last week, Kevin Reilly, WarnerMedia’s Chief Content Officer, appeared interested in the idea of releasing HBO Max’s original content on a weekly basis too.
A 44% plurality of those surveyed said they like to watch all episodes at once, while 21% said they liked to watch a few episodes, after which they’d catch one a week. Furthermore, 15% said they liked to watch one at a time.
Younger consumers — specifically those under the age of 45 — were more likely to prefer episodes to be released all at once, and to want to watch them all at once: 55% of them preferred to watch all episodes of a show in one sitting, and 60% liked all episodes to be released at the same time. 73% of adults in this demographic currently subscribe to a streaming service, compared to 61% of all adults.
Brett Sappington, the Senior Director of Research at Parks Associates, says the full-season model appeals to younger consumers because they like to have “control over their content”. But Brad Adgate, a media consultant with BIA Advisory Services, a market research firm that specializes in broadcast media, said that “a weekly release could be a way to minimize churn, or losing subscribers after they watch the content they want”.
A weekly release could be a way to minimize churn, or losing subscribers after they watch the content they want” Brad Adgate Media consultant with BIA Advisory Services