How do you test the binge waters if you’re a traditional network? Offer up one of your summer shows to fans clamoring for the Netflix option. NBC has decided to embrace binging on shows with the release of Aquarius.
You can tell NBC is concerned about the trajectory of streaming. Hulu scooped up the rights to Seinfeld and all future AMC programming. Netflix continues to churn out hit shows with Daredevil being its latest success.
Hell, Netflix invented the model of binge watching entire seasons when it released House of Cards.
All thirteen episodes of Aquarius will be made available in conjunction with its two-hour premiere on May 28.
Here’s NBC’s entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt explaining the move:
“With Aquarius we have the opportunity to push some new boundaries to give our 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.”
Translation? NBC gets solid press, and maybe some extra viewers. Now, it’s up to Aquarius to be watchable. This is NBC we are talking about…
Starring David Duchovny as homicide detective Sam Hodiak, Aquarius is a period crime drama set in 1967 Los Angeles. The show focuses on the two years leading up to the Manson murders.
How do you watch it? Either through NBC.com, VOD or the NBC app. Yeah, another app. Companies took ‘there’s an app for that’ too far. The thirteen episodes will be available for the first four weeks, with episodes on NBC airing in its normal Thursday night timeslot.
Why only four weeks? The producers have two cuts of the show. One that is broadcast friendly, and the other to ‘push the envelope’ for streaming.
Is Binge Watching the Future?
For fans, our immediate reaction is ‘please, let it be.’ But, think about the repercussions. Network TV already sticks to the tried and true model of copying formulas again and again. Exhibit A? CBS with CSI and NCIS spinoffs.
If, and it’s a big if, networks like NBC went to this model, how would they cancel/renew shows? Base it off the initial buzz? What if the show is promising and takes a few to gain traction?
Tons of questions, but little direction.