Netflix Rivals HBO Max, Disney+ and Apple TV+ All Plan to Kick Our Binge-Watching Habit

HBO Max is the latest to announce a weekly rollout for new episodes of original series

Last Updated: October 30, 2019 @ 3:35 PM

Netflix is set to face its stiffest competition in the streaming space over the next six months, with four major companies launching their own services. And they all have one thing in common: They shun the binge-viewing model Netflix used to dominate the streaming ecosystem.

When Netflix made its splash in the original content space in 2013 with “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” the streamer upended the traditional TV model by making the entire seasons available at launch, allowing users to consume new shows just as they did Netflix’s vast library of licensed older shows. The model worked so well that Amazon borrowed it for Prime original programming. But with the explosion of original content, Netflix’s newest competitors are hoping viewers miss the old days of weekly viewing.

Apple TV+, which launches on Friday, will use a hybrid-model similar to how Hulu rolls out its originals. The first three episodes of shows like “See” and “The Morning Show” will become available at once, followed by a weekly release of new episodes. Certain other series, like “Dickinson,” will be released all at once, but that will not be the standard. The service will cost $4.99 a month and is free for a year for anyone who buys a new iPhone, Mac or iPad.

Meanwhile Disney+, which launches 11 days later on Nov. 12, is following an even more TV traditional approach, with only the first episodes of originals like Jon Favreau’s “The Mandalorian” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” available at launch, with new episodes released on a strictly weekly basis. The service will cost$6.99 a month, which will feature both licensed and new programming from Marvel Studios, Pixar, Nat Geo and LucasFilm.

And on Tuesday, WarnerMedia became the latest streaming newcomer to reject the Netflix model in favor of one closer to traditional television. Kevin Reilly, chief content officer for HBO Max, said during WarnerMedia’s Investor Day that all Max Originals will release episodes on a weekly basis to mimic the same rollout as HBO.

“Our creators also see the difference in rolling out shows gradually and letting them breathe,” he said. “HBO hits like ‘Succession’ and ‘Chernobyl’ became part of the zeitgeist with a weekly release schedule rather than fading quickly after a binge and burn.”

HBO Max debuts in May 2020 at $14.99 a month, around the same time NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, will become available (that launch date is still simply Spring, 2020). By then we’ll have a better idea of how well the counter-programming strategy works.

For the record: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that “Dickinson” would be released weekly. It will be released all at once. 

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