Media & Entertainment

Over Half of Americans Prefer All-at-Once TV Show Releases

Image Credit: Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

It almost feels uncommon now not to just allow the next episode of your favorite TV show to start playing. But what is the real preference among Americans when it comes to TV show releases? Who still likes the weekly release model? 

In a CivicScience study of 1,300 U.S. respondents age 13+, more than half indicate they prefer episodes of a television show to be released at all at once, while about one-third of the population loves the traditional weekly release. A small percentage like the notion of just a few at a time more than one episode to consume, but not too much.

Comparing this to age to find the differences was the main intent of this study. The study was surprising in the age span of Americans who prefer the all-at-once model. Those between the ages of 18 and 44 were the most likely to prefer the all-at-once model for TV releases, with younger Millennials ages 25 to 29, and even younger Gen Xers (35-44) leading the charge.

Interestingly, those under 18 are the most likely to prefer to see them a few at a time and less into the binge all-at-once model (or at least the ability to with an all-at-once release). Older Americans over 55 were the most likely to prefer a weekly TV release cadence.

Women and men see nearly eye-to-eye, at least in their TV release preferences. Though it’s worth mentioning that women are slightly more likely to like the idea of a ‘few at a time’ release model.

Ultimately, how much someone streams TV or video has an impact, to an extent.

Those who watch shows on a streaming media device like a Roku or Apple TV at all are more likely to prefer the all-at-once model, though 29% of those who never watch streaming content on these devices still want TV released all at once, too. It seems that having the show all at once is more alluring overall to most Americans, even if they don’t watch it all in one sitting.

Lastly, when comparing TV release preference to how often people watch streaming content on Netflix, those who watch Netflix the most are most interested in all-at-once releases (Netflix was the forefather of this movement, after all).

Considering that Netflix is currently releasing fan-favorite The Great British Baking Show on a weekly basis, it will be interesting to see if this new strategy is applied to other shows (and how people take it).

Though age is certainly a driving factor of TV release preference, the lower inclination of those 13-18 to want TV programs released all at once is something to note. Overall, all-at-once does seem to be the preference of the majority, and likely won’t be going anywhere any time soon. 

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