Netflix has been such a hot topic of late that it got me thinking: why is everyone unsubscribing? After all, it's crammed full of lots of great shows. The killer one, of course, being that Stranger Things is back for season 4. That was enough to get me to resubscribe to the streaming service.
But it got me musing about the way things used to be. I don't even mean that in a cranky old man kind of way. It's not explicitly nostalgia (is it?), it's about process. By which I mean that shows used to air once a week at a specific time, week by week by week. You'd tune in for the big event.
Netflix, which helped promote boxset binge culture, seems to almost have become a victim of its own success in that process. Dropping a whole amazing season in one go isn't necessarily a way to retain subscribers – it's a way for them to binge, then remove their credit card from the account, or move on to the next subscription service option, like Disney+.
- Can Stranger Things save Netflix? I've resubscribed because it's a must-watch show
- Love Stranger Things 4? The 5 shows to binge watch next
The 'Netflix weekly'
So how about it: the idea of a Netflix weekly release schedule? That more shows, such as Stranger Things, don't just plop into the available 'watch bin' all in one go. That you have to wait, excitedly, week by week to find out what happens next. And, the crucial business part: you'd have to remain subscribed to ensure you got to see it.
In fairness, this idea isn't entirely far-fetched: Netflix is already doing it with some shows. Better Call Saul being the key one. Stranger Things 4 is also an example of staggered release: part 1 aired from 27 May, while part 2 will arrive on 1 June, meaning you'll most likely remain subscribed for at least that two month period.
So perhaps we'll see more shows split into multi-part releases to retain subscriber base. I, for one, would remain locked into a Netflix subscription if that was more common. Perhaps looking to the past to save the future is something Netflix could consider more, because to me waiting week on week sure sounds better than an ad-supported model – by which point I'd struggle to see the difference over 'normal' TV really.