Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max Adopt Weekly Versus Binge Release

Netflix is a big believer in binge TV watching. But its soon-to-launch rivals, Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max, have a different strategy.

HBO Max will air one episode on an original series per week. Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and the company’s D2C business, told Reuters: “We like the idea that people watch weekly and look forward to the next episode and talk about it,” Greenblatt said. “There is a sense of a shared experience.”

Similarly, Apple TV+ will air three episodes at a time, then one each week. Disney+ is also charting the weekly-only path for new subscribers. (One Apple exception is “Dickinson” — all 10 are streamable on launch day in 100 countries.)

What’s interesting is that both Apple TV+ and Disney+ will kick off shows on Fridays. The timing may be to capitalize on enhanced viewing on weekends.

The weekly model vs. binge culture is also a way for new streamers to build a subscriber base. The three upcoming services want their shows to have cultural impact and sustain water-cooler talk week-to-week, given the enormous production expenses. Plus, it may prevent churn after binging on a particular show.

In short, they may be new streaming services, but will operate, in part, like supercharged versions of a traditional cable channel.

Upcoming Apple dramas include “The Morning Show” and “See” — which will debut this Friday, Nov. 1. Disney content includes the “Star Wars”-inspired “The Mandolarian,” which begins Nov. 12, but all subsequent episodes screen on successive Fridays. To see the entire Jon Favreau’s series, fans must keep subscriptions active through December. Same for Marvel’s “Loki,” which has a six-episode run — which will launch next year.

HBO Max’s weekly lineup will include “Game of Thrones” spinoffs, joining content from J. J. Abrams, who also signed a massive a deal with WarnerMedia for exclusive HBO Max content.