It seems like streaming services such as Netflix, Apple TV, and Disney+ are constantly churning out new content. Many people feel inundated by the sheer number of quality TV shows to choose from across all of these platforms.
With new releases coming out almost every week, it can feel overwhelming. This begs the question: are streaming services producing too much quality content?
Streaming Service Outputs
First, let’s look at the output of these services. Most of the top streaming services release a small to moderate mix of new shows and movies each week. Though it’s worth noting that some of this content is new to the streaming platform rather than completely new. For example, Netflix adds many shows months after the season has finished airing on network or cable channels.
Next, let’s consider whether these services are sacrificing quality for quantity. The definition of high-quality TV is subjective, but it’s fair to say that the majority of the streaming shows releasing nowadays have engaging storylines, interesting characters, and high production quality.
Any shows that these services produce can have a cultural impact, from trending on Twitter and TikTok to receiving nominations at the Emmys and Golden Globes. And the best content from these services is still gaining recognition. But is it too much?
Streaming sites are absolutely producing too much content for the casual TV viewer to keep up with, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a waste. In fact, it’s likely an effective strategy. Here are five reasons why:
1. Streaming Content Can Have a Longer Lifespan
The purpose of streaming content is on-demand viewing. This is not a movie theater experience where viewers need to stay up-to-date with the newest releases or risk missing them and having to wait months for a DVD/streaming release. Having a backlog of high-quality content is ideal for streaming services and helps them keep subscribers.
Often with television, new people will discover a show after a new season releases. For example, season three of a show may hit the Netflix top charts and inspire those who missed the first two seasons to go back and start watching from the beginning. Most streaming services produce shows that people can enjoy for years to come.
Late-night television, daily news broadcasts, and timely entertainment are often less suited for streaming due to this.
2. Streaming Shows Are Shorter
It may seem like streaming sites release more content now, but that’s not fully accurate. Network television shows have about 22-26 episodes per season. This means that they are airing new episodes for around half of the year in most cases. Some shows even have up to 35 episodes per season, though this number is less common now.
Streaming shows, on the other hand, typically only have eight to 10 episodes per season. On a weekly release schedule, viewers may have about two months’ worth of new episodes. However, many streaming shows release their episodes all at once.
As such, viewers need more TV show offerings to fill in the gaps.
3. Different Streaming Shows Tend to Target Specific Consumers
Producing larger amounts of content widens the appeal of these platforms. Netflix, for example, releases a ton of high-quality shows each month, but they tend to span different genres.
Occasionally there will be a Tiger King or Squid Game that becomes a cultural phenomenon that everyone watches. But most of the time, Netflix targets content towards different segments of its consumer base.
Netflix has dramas, horrors, comedies, and more. It’s typically more of a “there’s something for everyone” situation than an “I need to watch every single release” situation for viewers.
4. Some Viewers Do Demand Constant Content
Avid film and television fans enjoy having so much content available to keep them entertained. Streaming shows also have fewer episodes on average, so those that watch a lot of television may get through full seasons quickly (perhaps in one weekend or even one lazy Saturday).
People’s viewing habits have also changed. People spent more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and found themselves desperate for entertainment. During this period, they devoured new shows and episodes as quickly as streaming sites could release them. Now, people are still spending more time at home due to remote work.
Some people like to have a show to watch while eating lunch or something to put on in the background while they do boring tasks for their job. The lack of commute also provides viewers more time in the evening to sit on the couch and catch up on the latest shows.
5. It’s Good PR for the Streaming Service
Satiating the needs of more avid viewers also benefits the streaming services. The most obvious benefit is that it incentivizes viewers to keep their subscriptions active. If people feel that they have run out of content to watch, they’re likely going to cancel the service and subscribe to one of the many other streaming options in search of fresh quality content.
The less obvious benefit is that the more avid fans are also likely the ones tweeting, blogging, and making TikToks about their favorite shows. Streaming services want to have their names and content in the news and across social media on a regular basis to attract new subscribers and maintain their position as industry leaders.
Consider Cutting Down Your Subscriptions
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of quality content available, consider pairing down on your streaming subscriptions. Many people pay for several monthly streaming subscriptions that they barely have time to use.
If you’re not using your services, consider canceling some and just working through your watch list on one or two streaming services. This can save you money and reduce the feeling of being overloaded with content.
With all the content available right now, it’s easy for your streaming service spending to get out of control.
The number of paid streaming services now available means the costs can add up. So if you think you’re spending too much, here are some tips to help.
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