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There has to be a better way to binge - The Verge News

There has to be a better way to binge  - The Verge News

Binging is growing increasingly difficult. Not because of spoilers or shows being released all at once, but because streaming services aren’t building apps with better playlist functions.

I’ve been binge-watching TV shows and movies since the 90s. First, it was churning through my sister’s old VHS recordings of Doctor Who and X-Files, then there was collecting and watching whole series of anime piecemeal from places like Sam Goody and Suncoast. By the early 2000s, companies began releasing series by the season instead of by the episode (for actually affordable prices) and that made binge-watching shows a lot easier. Just popping to the library to pick up a season of The Sopranos was a heckuva lot easier than asking to borrow someone’s VHS recordings. Now, binge-watching a show is simpler than ever, but the biggest complaint is that people have to binge for fear of spoilers and wish they could savor a show distributed episodically.

I don’t care about that. Spoilers are rarely a barrier to enjoyment for me and I learned a long time ago how to space watching a really good show out to maximize the episodic thrills. No, my issue with the current binge model is it doesn’t account for shared universes and all the weird watching orders that can be required. Nor does it account for older shows which often aired in a different order from which they were produced, leading to weird story inconsistencies as characters get introduced long after they actually show up in shows. And it seems like it should be an easy problem to solve for.


As Netflix, Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+, and whatever HBO Max and Discovery eventually become wage war with each other to be the top streaming service in the U.S. they are frantically focused on content. Which wasn’t how the streaming wars were supposed to be waged. The idea was that streaming would give us more choice, not only in content but in how we watched that content. Yet instead of new ways to engage with the shows we want to watch the streaming services are focused on acquiring new franchises or pumping millions into their established franchises. Concern for the actual experience seems to have taken a seat in the third row of the car.

This has led to weird situations like the lack of support for 4K and HDR in a lot of content across these streamers, franchises seeming to migrate from platform to platform with no fanfare, or HBO Max continuing to ship one of the buggiest apps around. Churn, where people are constantly subscribing to services and then dropping them when they’ve watched the content they’ve wanted to watch, seems to have become such an expected part of the business for streamers that there’s little emphasis on actually keeping people on the platforms for longer than the duration of the shows they wanted to watch.

Post ID: a7a4ab4c-35da-47b0-a459-36fdff08f044
Rating: 1
Updated: 5 days ago

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