Are you still watching?

Netflix vs Disney+ model sparks debate over how shows are consumed

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Streaming services and platforms give viewers easy access to binge watch all of their favorite shows, from originals to episodes that first premiered on television. 

Watching an entire season of a show in a small amount of time is as easy as ever, but how many people actually prefer to sit and watch? Senior Lilly Lewison says that spacing out episodes over time may be more beneficial.

“You get to take in more details and appreciate emotional moments better, if a show ends on a big reveal then you aren’t able to spoil yourself by immediately watching what happens next without processing what actually just happened,” Lewison said.

Streaming services such as Netflix release entire seasons at a time, perfect for starting and finishing a show all in one sitting. On the other hand, platforms like Disney+ opt for releasing one episode a week, almost like you would see on television.

For drama-heavy shows, episodes premiering weekly really benefits audiences as it gives moments and cliffhangers good space to breathe. ”

— Lilly Lewsion

The space in between episodes provides watchers time to talk about the episode, form opinions, and make predictions as what will happen next.

“One of my favorite things about having only one episode a week is hyping it up and anticipating the next episode, it makes watching more exciting,” Lewison said.

For others, binge-watching is the only way they’ll view shows. Sophomore Savannah Landgraf shares her thoughts on waiting.

“I think it’s kind of annoying to wait for so long, waiting for an episode 

makes you think about it all week and then you get distracted from other things,” Landgraf said.

Many watchers prefer to watch a show all in one sitting, so they don’t have to worry about spoilers or forgetting plot points in between waiting for episodes to come out.

“Generation Z is definitely more prone to binging shows, especially since we have so many streaming services like Netflix,” Landgraf said.

In 2021, streaming platforms are as popular as ever. During the Covid-19 pandemic, movie theaters were no longer accessible, and large budget movies and shows were starting to be released for streaming.

“I think younger audiences who have grown up in an on-demand world tend to binge more shows,” Lewison said. “Ever since we were old enough to enjoy shows they would be on streaming services where we could watch however much we wanted.”

Large corporations such as Disney have started to use their streaming services as a main platform for projects, many of their entertainment being made exclusively for Disney+. Netflix is also doing this, as 40 percent of their entertainment are original shows and films, according to Netflix.

“Disney+ releases only one episode a week, and they’ve seen a lot of success, so I think Netflix and other platforms could possibly start doing that too,” Landgraf said.

Whether it’s one episode a week or an entire season in a day, there’s a streaming platform for those that binge and for those that wait.

“For some shows, the space helps create tension, allows for cliffhangers to sell their impact better and for audiences to get excited with anticipation for what comes next, while for others it feels like an arbitrary wait time and a remnant of the past,” Lewison said.