Are Netflix’s original shows too popular for its own good?


How Binge-Viewing Could Rock Netflix Stock

Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein stumbled across an interesting tidbit in Netflix’s recent 10-Q filing: The company is saying that it may be seeing “higher than initially expected” binge viewing activity for Netflix originals like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Why would it be a bad thing if its shows were really popular, you may ask? Because the money spent on this type of content would amortize faster than planned, and Netflix would eventually have to spend even more on content to keep its subscribers watching.



Binge viewing is only a problem if the viewer is only subscribing to Netflix for a particular show. The lure of the site is the algorithms that suggest other programming for a subscriber to watch based on their interest in shows already watched. Orange is the New Black is attracting a whole new group of subscribers who previously did not subscribe along with current subscribers who have new programming to watch. I suspect a large percentage of current and new subscribers have clicked onto other shows recommended by Netflix based on the subscribers interest in ONB or House of Cards. Not many HBO subscribers cancel when all episodes of Game of Thrones have been aired. Netflix is the future of paid TV. Other sites are going to have to adapt or risk alienating consumers.


I hate to be so blunt, but this is really stupid.
1. 3-4 seasons a year would never cut it anyway. Netflix may release all 13 episodes at once, but aside from some binge viewers, it would take people a week or two to watch. A season a month would keep them from churning out and what Netflix should ultimately be aiming for.
2. New subscribers will be coming along all the time, at least for the near future, and they will bring new eyeballs.

I was expecting something like this blows out their bandwidth costs, but not this nonsense.


Selling too much of something is only a problem for someone who’s never been in business. On any scale.


Netflix financial model is based on monthly subscriptions, so you are not correct.

Basil Munroe Godevenos

No, obviously they don’t give away the subscriptions. But because they release all 12 or 13 episodes of a series at once, a new subscriber can pay their eight bucks and subscribe for one month to watch the whole season of the show that brought them to Netflix, then ditch their subscription at the end of that month.

By incorporating a sustained, gradual release model, Netflix can retain new subscribers for two or three months – and a scattered release schedule of shows of the same kind (say one a quarter) would retain subscribers indefinitely.


The episode-a-week trickle is the model that everyone follows, and the reason that they give for not releasing everything at once. There is no evidence that people churned out after HoC. If the only reason anyone joined Netflix is for just that one show, that’s a pretty damning statement on the rest of the service. People could just as well get those episodes for free on file-sharing services.

Gary Arndt

Netflix doesn’t have to release everything at once. They just have to have past episodes available to let people catch up.

There may be benefits to a weekly or bi-weekly release schedule.

Aaron Berlin

There’s no reason Netflix couldn’t easily solve this by releasing two or three “micro seasons” instead of one 13 episode block. Not what they’ve done so far, but no reason they couldn’t operate this way down the line. Would anyone really complain?

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