The Age of Spoiled Viewers
Less than a generation ago, the way we watched TV was much different. We had our favorite shows on the various channels we were able to receive. Those shows generally aired once per week. This allowed the show’s producers to extend the story arc over a “season”. The season was an arbitrarily agreed-upon length by the powers-that-be at the different TV channels. At the end of the season, the show would conclude with a cliffhanger episode that would guarantee return viewers at the start of the new season.
Recently, with the increasing popularity of streaming services and the untimely arrival of the Covid epidemic, the way we watch content has changed forever. And this has caused a dilemma for episodic TV show producers.
Fighting the Past
We’re now in an age where there are two accepted ways to watch a series of TV shows. Older shows can be viewed in their entirety by binge-watching. Newer shows stick to the one-per-week model of the past.
Once a week was acceptable for some of the more intricate high-budget and production-standard heavy shows, like Game of Thrones. They took a lot of time and money to make each approximately one-hour episode, and it was worth it to the viewer. But lately, more half-hour shows with limited production values are returning to the same old one-a-week formula of yesterday. Why?
The reason for this is the need to build up an audience. It’s self-preservation for the show. Even the smaller half-hour shows cost a lot to produce. Streaming services are facing the same competition and limited viewership as the old networks, but now they have to deal with spoiled viewers who are used to viewing what they want when they want it.
Producers must prove their shows are watched to their overseeing streaming services to guarantee their survival. The growth of competition in streaming services means more pressure on the services and producers to create good quality content. So, be patient while waiting for your favorite show. The wait is indicative of a good quality production.