NBC’s Binge-Watching Experiment: Will It Be a One-Time Event, or Is More on the Way?

Aug 14, 2015  •  Post A Comment

A recent foray by NBC into the world of binge-watching, in which the network rolled out a full season of the David Duchovny drama series “Aquarius” online before most of the episodes premiered on the linear channel, is unlikely to be repeated — at least not with season two of “Aquarius.”

Reuters reports that Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said Thursday during the Television Critics Association press tour that he wouldn’t rule out a similar experiment involving another series, but added: “It’s not going to become standard practice for the network.”

Following the show’s May 28 premiere on the broadcast network, NBC posted all 13 of the season-one episodes online for four weeks. The move was presumably prompted by the success that Netflix and other online streamers are having with a strategy of making entire seasons available on the same day.

Greenblatt noted that the approach has not been well-received by NBC affiliates, who rely on viewership for the broadcast network.

“Aquarius” was picked up for a second season on NBC even though the first season pulled in modest viewer numbers.

“Greenblatt said he hoped online viewership would lead to bigger audiences for ‘Aquarius’ when it returns to TV,” Reuters reports. “Industry executives credit the availability of AMC’s hit ‘Breaking Bad’ on Netflix with boosting TV viewership in later seasons.”

Greenblatt reportedly said about 94% of “Aquarius” viewers watched the program on the linear channel, with only about 6% viewing it online.



  1. Netflix creates a new way to watch series, but old-line networks dig in their heels and say “we don’t care about audience preferences.” Typical.

  2. By streaming all episodes after the first one ran, anyone who was into the show could watch it all before the second episode ran. By trying to imitate something “new and shiny” they could have completely undermined all of their affiliates and their sponsors. I find it surprising that they say that 94% of the people who saw the show watched it episodically on TV; I’d have thought the numbers would have been much lower.

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