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There was a ton of news coming out of Disney’s D23 Expo this past weekend. Amid all the information regarding the string of Marvel series to be released on Disney+, such as WandaVision and a solo Obi-Wan Kenobi series, it was also seemingly confirmed that the streaming service will release episodes weekly instead of using the binge model.
Some streaming giants, like Netflix, have made full seasons of the service's shows available for audiences all at once. Starting Friday on that streamer, binge-watching became a weekend-long event, with hours spent watching new episodes, one right after the other. Other services, including Hulu (some of the time at least) and DC Universe, don’t rely on the binge model and maintain the same weekly format like that of primetime television for new releases.
Of course, there are pros and cons to both models, especially considering how much TV there is to watch in the peak era. With binge-watching, audiences don’t have to wait for weeks -- and often months on end -- to find out what happens in a season finale. But with weekly episodes, fans have time to dissect and speculate with others, building a community and anticipation in regards to what might come next.
On the other hand, a weekly model can create audience fatigue. Do fans want to wait several weeks to see how events unfold, or will they drop off halfway through? Simply based on the primetime model, it’s true that ratings tend to fall over the course of the season until finale time, but there’s also typically a smaller gap between one season and the next than with the binge model. With Stranger Things, fans have to wait at least a year between seasons versus a shorter wait time on networks like NBC.
If the info (via TV Line) proves true, for Disney+, weekly episodic releases could keep audiences around for longer, building a sense of loyalty and word-of-mouth. We’ve all grown accustomed to bingeing, but it can sometimes be exhausting and often feels to me like I'm watching shows on my own rather than collectively with other fans. Imagine having watched Game of Thrones on a binge model? Would it have been less exciting? Probably.
The weekly model also guarantees everyone is on the same page in terms of the season’s events and fans have a longer period of time to engage with the material. However, fans can also grow impatient and move onto other shows before finishing a singular Disney+ series. This is especially true considering how many series the streaming service is producing.
To each his or her own, though. With so many options, everyone can watch however they believe works best for them. Whether it's binge-watching a show immediately after its release on Friday like on Netflix, or watching weekly like fans will be able to do on Disney+, the options are endless. For many, there's also the option to wait until an entire season is over so they can binge a weekly show! That's another pro to a streaming service! Whatever works.
What are your thoughts? Do you like that Disney+ will use a weekly format? Do you wish they released an entire season to binge instead? You'll be able to decide how you like the format when Disney+ officially starts streaming new content on November 12. For more info, take a look at what Disney already has available for the new service.