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Binge viewing is changing the way television is made

The way we watch television has changed in recent years. Services like Netflix (NFLX) and DVD box sets have allowed us to watch entire seasons of our favorite shows in one sitting, a phenomenon called “binge viewing”.

Binge viewing has been around since VCRs, but is has become much more common in recent years thanks to services like Netflix, Amazon (AMZN) and Hulu (HULU).

Understanding the growing popularity of binge viewing, Netflix is breaking the rules when it releases its first made-for-Netflix program today. Netflix is testing the water with its own television programming and “House of Cards” is the first show made specifically for the company.

When the series is released today, Netflix will make all 13 episodes available at the same time. This goes against everything we know about television viewing, but it could be the start of a new era of programming, and Netflix is the perfect company to test it out.

The decision to release all the episodes at once is not only changing the way shows are released, but also having an impact on the way they are being created.

Because so many people will watch the entire series in just one or two sittings, the makers did not have to spend time on flashback scenes, leaving more space for new content in each episode. It makes a series imore like a novel since you can watch it from start to finish without the anxiety of waiting a week between chapters.

We have have not reached a tipping point where we are watching more recorded programming than live shows, but we are headed in that direction. DVRs and shows on demand allow us the opportunity to watch what we want, when we want. In the future more producers will probably follow Netflix's lead.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that in the next 10 or 15 years we will get all our television programming from streaming services. As we move in that direction we can expect to see more series being released all at once as opposed to the weekly television format. Eventually we could even start to see a straight 10 hour long block of content as opposed to individual episodes.

Of course, in order to make this work, companies are going to have to figure out how to get the same level of marketing into the shows to make sure that they are still pulling in the same amount of advertising dollars. This will be the biggest hurdle, and is perhaps the biggest reason online subscription services will dominate market in years to come.


Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va. His articles typically cover big-picture events and forecasting what impact they will have on the stock market. In addition to writing for Fresh Brewed Media, Michael also wrote for AOL's BloggingStocks for three years, focusing most of his attention on the energy and technology sectors. Follow him on Twitter at @MFatMICenter.

Michael Fowlkes

Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va.