NBC Embraces Binge-Watching
It is hard to look at the current TV landscape and not see Netflix’s influence draped over everything. Netflix has greatly influenced and will continue to change the way we consume television programming. Most notably, Netflix has made binge-watching not only possible,but almost an epidemic in the U.S. Others in the TV game are quickly learning that there are two options at present: 1) adapt and become forward thinking to compete with Netflix or 2) get out of the way and fade into the distance.
NBC saw a unique opportunity to be “out of the box” with its new series Aquarius and took it. In an unprecedented move for a broadcast network, NBC announced that it will release all 13 episodes of Aquarius immediately following its series premiere on May 28th. The episodes will be available on NBC.com, the NBC app, and on VOD for a four-week period, while each new episode will be shown Thursday nights at 9 pm. Only a select number of ads will run during the episodes watched outside of traditional broadcasting on NBC, giving viewers the ability to binge-watch with an experience similar to Netflix.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt stated when making the Aquariusannouncement that they had the opportunity to push some new boundaries and give their audience something no broadcast network has done before. “We are fully aware how audiences want to consume multiple episodes of new television series faster and at their own discretion, and we’re excited to offer our viewers this same experience, since all 13 episodes of this unique show have been produced and are ready to be seen,” he said. “I appreciate the enthusiasm we’ve gotten from the producers of the show and our partner, Marty Adelstein of Tomorrow Studios, to launch this series in a new, forward-thinking way.”
Aquarius is a period piece set in 1967 Los Angeles, and stars David Duchovny, Emma Dumont, Grey Damon, and Gethin Anthony. The series focuses on the two years leading up to the Charles Manson murders.
NBC’s move to make all of Aquarius available immediately looks to be the next logical step in the progression of broadcast networks working toward trying to directly compete with Netflix.
In 2013, CBS made its first streaming pact with Amazon for episodes of the series“Beyond the Dome.” CBS duplicated this move with their series “Extant,” but this series was released episode by episode. Time will tell how viewers (and advertisers) take to NBC’s tweaked all-at-once approach.