Networks Adopt Binge-Streaming Strategies

TV Viewer
In May 2015, NBC’s “Aquarius,” a drama that portrays a detective investigating Charles Manson, became the first broadcast series to be available for streaming upon the airing of its premiere.

"We are fully aware how audiences want to consume multiple episodes of new television series faster and at their own discretion, and we're excited to offer our viewers this same experience since all 13 episodes of this unique show have been produced and are ready to be seen,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told Adweek at the time.

The show, helmed by David Duchovny, was quickly renewed for a second season within a month.

“With its riveting drama and innovative release strategy, Aquarius has excited the critics, hooked millions of viewers and energized our summer. It’s no secret that the way people watch television is evolving, so we took a unique approach to how we delivered Aquarius and it’s driven some record numbers for NBC Digital and helped us reach viewers who might have otherwise overlooked a great summer drama,” said Jennifer Salke, NBC entertainment president.

Now, other networks are following NBC’s lead and experimenting with streaming strategies of their own.

On April 10, premium cable channels Showtime and Starz released entire series via OTT while simultaneously premiering them on linear TV.

Showtime has created a new comedy, "Dice," about a struggling comedian in Las Vegas.

“We’re excited to release ‘Dice’ in its entirety across our streaming, on demand and authenticated viewing platforms,” said Gary Levine, Showtime president of programming. “We’re always looking for new ways to make our programming stand-out, and we’re confident that a ‘Dice binge’ will appeal to both fans and skeptics alike, and help spread the word about his very funny new Showtime series.”

“Once you subscribe to Showtime, we’re happy to share our programming with you; that’s the beginning, middle and end,” Levine added. “Exactly what the timing is — exactly what device you watch it on — is practically irrelevant to us.”

Starz’s “The Girlfriend Experience,” which explores the world of call girls, is inspired by producer Steven Soderbergh’s film of the same name.

“Providing binging access to the entire 13-episodes to STARZ subscribers, along with the traditional weekly episodic premiere schedule, allows us to accommodate all viewing appetites,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said in a press release.

Referring to the 30-minute length of the episodes, Soderbergh stated that “chunks of narrative this size encourage the ‘I-want-to-watch-one-more’ sensation.”

Network executives recently discussed the approach to this binge blueprint.

"The streaming platforms have created a more competitive environment and we all need to deliver better," said David Levy, president of Turner.

"Bingers are super fans," Jonnie Davis, president of creative affairs for 20th Century Fox TV, chimed in. "These are the people who go to work the next day and want to talk about the show."

With major premium and broadcast networks attempting this TV show development model, could even more join in?

Author: Brian Cameron

Image via Shutterstock.


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