How binge watching is changing the television world

Alice Webster, staff writer

Streaming giants Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have taken the world of television by storm. In recent years, streaming services have been cleaning up at award shows like the Emmys. But what does this mean for your regularly scheduled programs?

Instead of tuning in to watch their favorite shows, many fans turn streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Hulu which offer day after access to episodes of an array of popular shows. Some people, myself included, don’t even have cable anymore, choosing instead to rely on streaming services. This shift is forcing networks to reconsider what makes shows popular. For example, Brooklyn Nine Nine had unsatisfactory viewership, causing Fox to cancel the police sitcom; however; fans, including Mark Hamill, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Guillermo del Toro, raised an uproar on social media, resulting in the show being picked up by NBC only a day later. How did Fox make the misstep of letting go such a popular show? That’s simple: ratings. Brooklyn Nine Nine and many other shows stream the day after they air on Hulu, allowing many fans to watch at their leisure rather than on a schedule.  

Furthermore, fans without access to Hulu but have Netflix are more willing to wait to see their favorite shows due to the prevalence of shows that release full seasons periodically. Hits like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Stranger Things, and The Handmaid’s Tale follow this structure. These shows and others from services such as Netflix have been raking in the awards and public praise, and their production companies are instrumental in their success. While other companies strictly make money by selling their shows, streaming services more than make up the money they use to buy them with their thousands of subscriptions, and the extra is free to be used to fund expensive shows and movies that rock the public consciousness.

Industries are always evolving and television is no different. The way that people consume media is especially vulnerable to shifts in this world of faster technology. Television companies, as so many others have been throughout history, will have to go through the process of natural selection. May the best broadcaster win.