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Disney+ Will Release Episodes Weekly, Breaking Trend with Launching Shows to Binge

Jason Gurwin

At the D23 Expo, Disney answered many of the outstanding questions about their upcoming Disney+ streaming service. While we knew it would be released on November 12th for $6.99 a month, we have since learned that it will include 4K streaming, four simultaneous streamers, unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices, and up to 7 profiles with hundreds of avatars.

At their Disney+ Showcase they debuted the trailer of their much anticipated series The Mandalorian — the first ever live-action Star Wars series set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order.

The series will be released when the service debuts on November 12th, along with others like High School Musical: The Musical The Series and The World According to Jeff Goldblum. But, unlike Netflix, Disney won’t be releasing all of the episodes at once. Instead, they will release episodes weekly, harkening back to the days of what feels like the not so distant past.

We’ve heard that with some of the series they will debut multiple episodes in their first week. For example, a series may launch on a Tuesday, and then they would release a second episode a few days later to build buzz. Just like Game of Thrones, and older series like Breaking Bad , The Sopranos, and Lost — where every week felt like an event, Disney is hoping much of the same will happen with shows like The Mandalorian.

The approach goes against the trend that Netflix has set. The streaming giant exclusively releases series, so episodes are available all at once. Amazon Prime Video has followed suit, where hits like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, sees all episodes debut on a single day. Disney-owned Hulu though has bucked the trend. With shows like The Handmaid’s Tale they have released 2-3 episodes when a season debuts, and then weekly at midnight on a specific day.

With the launch of a new service though, Disney really didn’t have a choice.

While they’ll launch with a deep catalog including the entire Disney Vault, Pixar and Star Wars libraries, MCU films like Captain Marvel, and the entire 30 seasons of The Simpsons — they will have just five original series on day one. Next year will bring MCU’s Falcon & The Winter Soldier and Pixar’s Forky Asks a Question.

Original Titles Coming to Disney+

You can see a full breakdown of all Disney+ series and movies coming by 2021.

All Originals Available at Launch

  • The Mandalorian
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum
  • Encore!
  • Marvel Hero Project
  • High School Musical: The Musical - The Series
  • Lady & Tramp (movie)
  • Noelle (movie)

Some Originals Coming in First Year

  • Falcon & The Winter Soldier
  • Forky Asks a Question
  • The Imagineering Story
  • Be Our Chef
  • Marvel’s 616
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars - Animated Series
  • Phineas & Ferb: The Movie

If all episodes could be binged on launch day, it might be harder to continue the excitement past when the service debuts. Now, the company can get you to keep returning to the app while they’re growing their catalog to the 25 new original series and 10+ movies they’ll release in the first year.

On Friday, they announced new series like Muppets Now, a sequel to Lizzie McGuire, as well as Marvel’s Ms. Marvel, She Hulk, and Moon Knight — but those won’t come until 2021-2022.

Even though Disney might not have had a choice, but to release episodes weekly, for many, going back to the traditional release model is exciting. It allows for rebirth of the water-cooler and for conversations and deep analysis to build on social media. You no longer will feel the stress to binge, just because a series may be spoiled. And maybe, just maybe, this will bring back the joy of in-season cliffhangers — where you have to wait just a little to satisfy a curiosity of what might happen.

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