Since Netflix began releasing original shows in 2013, it has always released full seasons at a time, refusing to do any sort of weekly release schedule.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s content chief, recently explained to HitFix exactly why Netflix will never stagger the release of episodes.
“There’s no reason to release it weekly,” Sarandos said. “The move away from appointment television is enormous … most people watch those shows on demand and on DVRs and in multiple episode stacks.”
In other words, they binge-watch, something Netflix has famously facilitated.
But Sarandos gave another reason why Netflix releases full seasons: it has found that people tend to watch only one show at a time.
“If you decide tomorrow you want to watch ‘Breaking Bad,’ you’re going to spend the next two months watching all of ‘Breaking Bad’ before you move on to something else,” Sarandos said. “Which is radically different than, you know, a show a night viewing the way people used to do.”
This means that Netflix risks losing those viewers with a spread-out release. It’s safer to let them binge all the way through.
Both these factors have caused Netflix to take a hard line against ever releasing a show the way traditional TV does. “Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner said that if he ever pitched Netflix a show, he would try to convince them to release it weekly.
Sarandos’ response: “He would lose.”