To binge or not to binge? The question facing Netflix

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Funny story. In a 2018 interview with Empire Magazine, actor Guy Pearce said, “I don’t think Netflix likes the term ‘binge'”, adding that “we were strictly told beforehand not to talk about ‘binge’. -watching'”. the same service as invented binge watching.

What’s the deal, Netflix?

We’re four years and, it seems, lifetimes away from this Pearce-ing glimpse into Netflix’s psyche, which may or may not make the comments feel prescient, given the current issues of the streaming titan. Recent reports and his own remarks have bingers on the edge of their seats.

Normally, this is precisely where Netflix wants us – on the edge of our seats – deeply engaged with its shows. Ever since the entire first season of “House of Cards” went live in 2013, this is how we’ve been consuming streaming shows. It is sacrosanct. So why so much talk about stopping binge outings?

It’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s read the news on Netflix, whose own subscriber drama is nearly as compelling as “Downton Abbey.” It just left Netflix, by the way.

Despite the record-breaking release of “Stranger Things” in May, Wednesday (June 15), CNBC reported that “Netflix is ​​struggling to reignite subscriber growth. So its binge strategy is coming under renewed scrutiny as the company is looking for ways to better retain its subscriber base.

In early June, Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s head of scripted series for the United States and Canada, told Variety that “we fundamentally believe that we want to give our members choice in how they view, and thereby give them this option on these scripted series to watch”. as much as they want to watch when they watch it, is always fundamental to what we want to provide.

He added that “when you see something like a batch season with ‘Stranger Things,’ that’s our attempt to make sure we can get the shows out to members faster.”

So that’s a “yes” to continuous frenzy release? Maybe. Maybe not. And let’s not forget the little question of the advertisements that can appear on the platform. If you don’t quite understand the concept, imagine a new form of network television that you pay to watch. The first users will be everywhere.

For the rest, I guess we’ll find out when this episode drops.

Streaming’s moment of truth

After losing 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter and announcing that the number could reach two million by the end of the rapidly approaching second quarter, and now facing an elite group of rivals who do not subscribe to excessive output – Disney +, HBO Max and Hulu among them – Netflix seems trapped, much like “The Umbrella Academy” in every episode.

If you think they won’t tinker with the model – ads, ending excessive drinking, etc. – we refer you to comments by Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings on his April 2022 earnings call.

Hastings told analysts, “Those who have followed Netflix know I’ve been against the complexity of advertising and a big fan of subscription simplicity. But as much as I’m a fan of it, I’m a bigger fan of it. fan of consumer choice.

He added that “allowing consumers who wish to have a lower price and who are tolerant of advertising [to] getting what they want makes a lot of sense. So that’s something we’re looking at now. We try to understand [it] come out over the next year or two. But consider us quite open to offering even lower prices with advertising as the consumer’s choice.

Positioning the pivot as “consumer choice” seems very much in line with the connected economy zeitgeist, which we love, but there are a few crude expressions that can apply as well. We’ll have to wait for the second quarter earnings call in July to see how things play out since then. Be optimistic.

If they’re going for a cheaper subscription tier with ads, we’ve got some suggestions for Netflix’s advertising team to save time, effort, and get some of those handsome ad dollars.

When “Squid Game” season two premieres – in 2023 or 2024 they say – we submit Red Lobster as the sole sponsor. Likewise, “Ozark” represents a unique opportunity for Missouri’s tourism division to attract visitors – even though it was filmed in Georgia. Plus, a number of lawyers would rush for a commercial break during “Better Call Saul,” like those behind the infamous “who can I sue?” billboards adorning stretches of I-95 on the East Coast.

We could do this all day.

If the binge-watching, anti-commercial hordes that made Netflix what it is today are forced to adapt to a new experience, will that save the ship or sink it? any further?

See you for answers in July. Netflix is ​​definitely not posting bad news.

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