Although hugely popular at one time, binge-watching — watching multiple episodes of a show at once — isn’t what it used to be.
Gone are the days of streaming giants automatically releasing new seasons of a show at the same time. This is partly due to the fact that many of them have much shorter seasons than those shown on television.
“It felt like we were doing so little television over such a long period of time,” American television producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes recently told the Westport Library. “It was just a different animal. And I think it also comes down to how people look at how the shows are made.
Netflix (NFLX) is a prime example of this, splitting its new season of “Stranger Things” and select episodes of British competition “Great British Bake-Off” into two parts.
HBO Max has had major success with this formula. Some of its biggest hits from the past year include Succession and Euphoria, both of which aired one episode a week throughout their seasons, which consisted of nine episodes and eight episodes respectively.
“We’re going back to the idea that maybe eight episodes isn’t something,” said Shonda Rhimes, CEO of global media company Shondaland. “It was really surprising to me when I first went to streaming and they were like, ‘We’re going to do eight episodes.’ I was like, ‘We did 24 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy a year and 20 episodes of Scandal and 14 or 20 episodes of How to Get Away with Murder.'”
However, the excessive observation was beneficial for Rhimes. Bridgerton – a show she co-created – became the most-watched show on Netflix after its second season was released earlier this year. Rhimes attributed the show’s success to the coronavirus pandemic, as its first season kicked off in December 2020.
“We couldn’t have been luckier in terms of receiving this show,” she said. “It was pure luck. The public needed it at the time. It wouldn’t have happened without COVID.
Still, Rhimes said “the hierarchy between film and TV has completely flipped” as many of Hollywood’s biggest names are now competing for streaming projects.
“What I find interesting right now is how it’s evolving,” Rhimes said. The content “returns to what it was. It was the Wild West of shows and now we’re coming back to acknowledging that some things worked, [but] maybe for some, releasing all episodes at once doesn’t work. We come back to this idea.
Dave Briggs is a presenter for Yahoo Finance Live.
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