No, Disney. Just no.
Didn’t I just say that some of these new streaming services are going to make awful, non-consumer based decisions, like deciding to release episodes one week at a time? I did, just last month.
So Disney is doing what they perceive to be best for their bottom-line … and not consumers. Disney doesn’t understand a big part of the appeal of streaming media: that the consumer has control over their content viewing experience. Oh well. They’ll still make buckets of money. But the excuses for these old models are getting old.
Excuse 1: We want to generate buzz around our shows, and the week-to-week model gets us that.
You think Stranger Things 3 didn’t generate a lot of buzz? You think those memes aren’t still popping up? Oh, you want a long, extended streak of buzz to keep interest up for your product. I get it. That makes a lot of sense for your business.
Stinks for consumers who want to watch as much of your product as they can, under their control.
Excuse 2: Something about spoilers.
“But if it’s released all at once, and I can’t watch the entire thing that first weekend, it might get spoiled!” Same can be said about movies. Or books. Or video games. But people don’t demand books be released one chapter at a time. Or video games one level at a time. So why the sudden concern about spoilers? Can’t you just launch another spoiler embargo campaign like you did for Avengers: Endgame? This is a lame reason.
Excuse 3: But some consumers prefer to watch shows one week at a time.
Good for them. I think they should be able to do that. I think they should be able to watch one episode per week, or every two weeks, or every month, or every year, or every hour. That’s what putting your show up in its entirety gives consumers. They can watch at the pace they want. If they are part of a community that wants to watch one episode at a time and discuss for a week, they can do that.
The point is, you are giving the consumer control over their viewing experience. And guess what: that’s not a new idea. As I mentioned before, books, video games, newspapers, board games, etc. have always been released “all-at-once.” This Netflix idea is not novel. It’s actually very familiar, and very desirable.
Is Disney+ already in trouble?
Not likely. They’ve still got buckets of content, and subscribers will flock in like four-year-old girls at an Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet. But if they keep making decisions like this — if all of these streaming networks keep making decisions like this — people will look to alternative means for their entertainment content. In some cases, people will stop caring about your stuff. Others will turn to torrents and piracy.
Either way, the world is not as wonderful as you thought.