In 2008, Netflix started its streaming service and completely changed the way that we watch TV. It became easy to watch as much of a show as you wanted, without waiting for each episode to come out per week. There is one flaw with this model: in the age of binging, it is easy for shows to become irrelevant in between seasons. I can finish a season of 10-13 episodes in about a week, and I usually don’t even think about the show until the next season comes out.
“If I have school it will take me maybe three days to finish a season but if I have a whole day to myself it will only take me a day,” said Sophomore Nuala Cohen.
Sophomore Charnay Kirkland told me that she watches around 2 hours of Netflix a day, which adds up to about 14 hours a week. “If I had to guess I would say I watch like 2 hours of Netflix a day.” This number isn’t too far from the average, which is about 1 hour and 20 minutes a day. “I think I watched Big Mouth in a day” added Kirkland.
If it only takes viewers a few days to binge a season, I think it is safe to assume that the shows view count goes down drastically within the first few weeks of airing.
“I watch like 4 hours of Netflix a day,” Said Sophomore Eliana Alfaro-Allah. “On the weekends I can watch up to like 16 hours”
In this fast-paced industry, the question arises: How can shows stay relevant and continue to bring in viewers between seasons?
Netflix seems to have come up with a solution to this issue, bonus episodes. I first noticed these bonus episodes when only a few months after airing its first season The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina came out with a Winter Solstice episode, basically Netflix’s version of a Christmas Special. The episode set up even more excitement for the new season, leaving viewers with a cliffhanger ending. Another show that I watch, Big Mouth, just came out with a Valentines Day special entitled, “My Furry Valentine”. The episode fit in perfectly with the rest of the season, starting exactly where the finale had ended.
For me, both of these bonus episodes remind me of why I liked the show, got me excited for the next season, and in the case of Big Mouth, made me want to rewatch it, and I wasn’t the only one.
“After the Big Mouth special, I rewatched the whole show,” said Cohen. “I’ve seen so many people rewatching it now”
The specials seem to work as a tool to draw viewers back into the show, as well as create buzz for the new season.
“Watching the Valentine’s Day episode reminded me of how good the show was” Said Sophomore Charnay Kirkland.
These bonus episodes point out that there are actually upsides to normal cable shows. As a person who binges Netflix, but also watches some weekly shows, I have to say that there is something more exciting about waiting for an episode to come out. I also tend to get bored with cable shows less because I get a break in-between episodes. Overall, I think that how I like to watch shows depends on my mood, sometimes I want to binge a season, and other times I like having the week to get excited about the next episode.
With so many teens having extreme Netflix habits, I can actually see cable shows being beneficial, especially for children with increasingly low attention spans. These extra episodes make me wonder: is Netflix planning to go back to cable-like airing?