I feel as though a few questions have come to define our generation:
“Which Snapchat filter is the most lit?”
“Does she want the D?”
“Should I wait till the seasons ends then binge watch or should I tune in every week?”
Fine, those questions don’t really define our generation, but the last one is worth talking about anyways.
Because, if you think about back in the day our parents had to wait a week to watch their favourite shows and if they missed it there was no chance they could watch it again. You know because there were like four channels and 9 TV shows.
But now, a few decades later, we can watch whichever show we want, whenever we want and whichever way we want. I can watch Mr.Robot on Amazon prime in my room if I don’t feel like leaving the comfort of my bed or I can just watch the recorded version on my DVR (haha suck it, old people).
We have so many choices and as we know from the “paradox of choice” that’s a bad thing.
So the point of this article is to evaluate both the Netflix Model and the Network Model and tell you which one is best suited for each type of show.
So just to make sure we are all on the same page:
The Netflix (minus the chill part) Model: When the entire season is released at once
The Network model: When the episodes are released weekly
I feel like it’s worth noting my personal preference on the matter before I start. I never binge watch things. I honestly do not understand people who sit at home and watch a season of Orange Is The New Black the day it drops on Netflix.
Like, don’t you guys have other things to do?
Having said that, I still wait for the season to come out first before I watch a single episode.
You might be thinking “that’s super weird Zein why do you do such a thing?”.
I do it because I am in fact weird and like to watch shows at my own pace. I always want the possibility of binging a season for instance even though I never ever will.
The Network (old school model):
This is the way the cavemen of yesteryear would consume their content and even though the reason why may be antiquated the benefits can still be noticed to this day.
The biggest pro about this model is the hype which continues to build up as the season comes along.
Take Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead for Instance for instance.
Because these are such spoiler heavy shows people are more likely going to watch the Sunday or the Monday (for us non US-folk) they come out.
Think about all the social interactions this brings about.
We get to talk about what happened with our friends; we get to speculate on the upcoming episodes and, more importantly, it gives us time to miss the show and bring about a sense of anxiety.
The best example I can think of was when (SPOILER ALERT) Joffrey died in Game of Thrones. It not only gave us an entire week of pure bliss it was the only thing people talked about the entire week. We anxiously counted down the days before we could find any closure.
We got an opportunity to really connect with the show on a much deeper level by watching it week to week.
Just imagine if you were binging that season, there was no added feeling of suspense. You just clicked a few buttons and all of a sudden all the anarchy which previously ensued was resolved within 10 minutes of the next episode.
There are two really big cons when it comes to this way of watching TV.
The first is that everyone loves instant gratification and people given the opportunity will always choose to watch the next episode because that is human nature. Even though we would diminishing our enjoyment of the show by doing this.
Watching a show with the Network model limits your flexibility because no matter what you are going to have to watch the day it comes out or risk spoilers. That means you are going to allocate your time in a less optimal way than you otherwise would have.
The second con is that some shows just aren’t compatible with this model (more on that later).
The Netflix Model:
This is how the modern day person, for better or for worse, consumes their content.
Most shows are just better suited for this model, especially these drama, super-hero shows and comedies.
The best example of this would be Gossip Girl (which I, unfortunately, watched please no judgment).
You can’t watch Gossip Girl one episode at a time because, unless there is something wrong with you, you will loose interest in the time it takes to release the next episode.
But, if you watch ten episodes in one day you can immerse yourself in the world of the upper east side (sorry I keep talking about this awful show). You can connect with complete sociopaths like Chuck Bas, who can barely formulate a sentence without whispering (actually I still can’t the guy makes no sense whatsoever).
Also, when shows like Daredevil (which is super dope), which aren’t that mainstream, are released all at once you don’t have to risk spoiler alerts because the likelihood anyone either watches the show and is a dick is very slim.
Also dark shoes like Daredevil have an inherent limit to how many episodes you can watch in a finite period of time.
Because there is only so many times, I can see a man choked to death, decapitated by a car door and battered to death by a hammer in a day.
Lastly, the genre I think benefits the most from the Netflix models are comedies. Maybe this a personal preference of mine but, I can’t watch a single episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine or The Big Bang Theory then wait a week for the other one. These shows are barely 20 minutes sometimes, so you don’t really get any connection with the characters by the time an individual episode is over.
I am not going to talk about the clear social drawbacks of binge watching TV because that’s your life and whatever.
I think this binge watching culture also makes us bad consumers in a sense. Because, when we start developing this habit of watching shows using the Netflix model, it’s a lot harder for us to go back and start watching content using the Network model.
Like I mentioned previously there is a very clear and real threat that by waiting for the season to finish someone is going to spoil the show for you. Sorry, I have to bring up Gossip Girl again, but my friend Wesley told me who Gossip Girl was when I was on season 5. So there is a very real risk you are taking when you want to go that route.
There is a very real trade-off between the enjoyment of a show and the amount of time it takes you to watch the show. Like I said before when you don’t have to wait for the next episode you may not be emotionally invested in what is going on.
Binge watching leaves you normally more empty towards the end without the feeling of satisfaction you would derive if you managed to pace yourself or simulate following as it progresses.
Anyways, at then end of the day, it comes down to two things when you’re deciding between the Network and Netflix model.
From a micro point of view, it depends on which way do you like to watch your favourite imaginary people.
From a macro point of view, I would say that the hit TV shows are better suited for their weekly showings because they have the cache necessary to warrant your emotional investment.
But, for the smaller niche shows, I would think it would behoove you to release all your content all at once so people can watch it at their own leisure.
Hope you guys learned a thing or two
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