Variety thinks Netflix is making a biiiig mistake.
... let's not forget that the whole point of Netflix embarking on an original programming strategy is to bring in new subs by offering a different value proposition. These are consumers who didn't feel compelled to sign on to binge on library programming, but they're interested in seeing a buzzed-about new show like "Cards," and other originals still to come.
So when new subs polish off "Cards" in less time than the month they paid for, they'll quickly have to confront the issue of whether they are getting their money's worth. Netflix is betting to work its algorithmic magic on these subs by getting them hooked on other programs from its library. But that's a risk because that's not primarily why these customers signed onto Netflix.
It's not like another original series will be waiting for them as soon as they're done with "Cards." The next series on Netflix's slate of originals, Eli Roth's "Hemlock Grove," isn't due until April and the revival of Fox's "Arrested Development" doesn't begin until May. Thus, getting new subs to pay for a second consecutive month of services becomes at least a little less likely.
But if the 13 episodes of "Cards" were parceled out in the traditional weekly, installments, you could hook a viewer to pay for at least three months instead of just one.
Yes, the binge opportunity makes Netflix all the more addictive. But compelling the viewer to pace their programming consumption will generate more revenue.
I'm not so sure about this - Netflix has no competition for "instant binge viewing." The only other way you can legally do this is by buying DVD sets of old series, and that's not instant. Since there's no competitor for subscribers to compare Netflix to, why would they feel disgruntled not to have the next binge series in their face right away?
Also, why assume that everyone will do binge viewing, just because it's possible? I think many viewers are so accustomed to once-a-week viewing that they might just subconsciously follow that approach, or a speeded up version, maybe one episode every other night, with other stuff in-between. What Netflix offers is not just binging but choice. You can view this series at any pace you want, that's what's new.