Netflix is banking hard on people's love of binge-watching. It has worked for the subscription streaming service, and because it is working Netflix revealed in a letter to shareholders that it's a trend the company sees catching on, and soon. In fact, Netflix thinks that HBO may be in the market for a binge-watching model of its own. Here's why the subscription streaming service thinks this will be happening:
The BBC has become the first major linear network to announce plans to go binge-first with new seasons, favoring internet over linear viewers. We presume HBO is not far behind the BBC.
So, basically, the gist is that because the BBC is all in, HBO should be all in, too. The news (via Business Insider) comes a few years after Netflix's Head of Content Ted Sarandos said that Netflix's goal was to overtake HBO in content production. In terms of the sheer amount of shows the subscription streaming service has, it seems Netflix has reached its goal. HBO still has big event programming like Game of Thrones and Westworld, though.
In some ways, HBO would be a good fit for binge-worthy TV. The subscription cable network really only needs subscribers, like Netflix, to continue creating original content. It's a channel that is less tied to ratings and HBO already has standalone and cable-tied streaming services at its disposal. The backlogs of a lot of older HBO shows are also available through the streaming service, so binge-watching is possible.
Still, I'm not sure this will be the ultimate goal of every popular channel or TV-producing company. Binge-watching does have some negative side effects, and studies have shown that people tend to binge-watch more when they are depressed. In addition, there is still a lot of interest in event TV and watercooler moments that can be talked about after episodes air. While TV is changing and streaming seems to be an extremely viable option for TV's future, not everyone has adapted to the binge-watching model, even in the streaming business. Some shows on Amazon and the upcoming CBS All Access originals are still going to be released in a linear fashion, and I'm not sure there's really any incentive for HBO to switch to binge-watching in the near future, too.
Perhaps HBO will start having online shows that are offered in the binge-watching model. Comedy series are often fun binge-watching options, so I'm not saying Netflix's opinion is wholly wrong. Still, it seems like HBO should be doing what it can to differentiate its model from Netflix's. We'll have to wait and see what the future holds for both companies. What do you think? Should Westworld and other big shows be available to binge, binge, binge or do you like having something to look forward to each week? Take a look at what HBO is airing, but not making available to binge, with our midseason TV premiere schedule.