Disney+ to Stream Weekly Episodes

Here’s one of those odd times where I have to go back on my word. I believe the exact phrase was, “Yes, there is absolutely too much to binge watch from the streaming service providers these days.” I might have written that in a Streaming Saturday post in June. Now, I have to eat those words, much to Stuart Sweet’s delight. (I swear, that man loves to see me fall on my own sword.) Well, after bragging up the weekly model of watching your favorite shows, Disney recently made an announcement that throws all of that out the window… maybe. Keep reading to find out what the future might hold for the Disney+ streaming service.

The Big Announcement…

…Disney recently announced that its Disney+ TV shows will stream episodes in a weekly format. This news broke at the D23Expo in Anaheim, CA. Tim Federle told reporters that his show, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, will release its 10 episodes on a weekly basis. A Disney+ spokesperson confirmed to media sources that all the streaming service’s series will follow this format. It will be the same for the much-anticipated Star Wars live action series, The Mandalorian, and other other series scheduled to for launch day, including:

  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum
  • Encore
  • Forky Asks a Question

So, what is Disney saying here? Will all its shows work this way? Or where there be some content that’s available all the time while users are waiting for the next episode of their favorite show? I hope it’s the latter. I mean, users have to be able to watch other Disney content while they wait for next week’s episodes of their favorite series. If you can’t, I’d question its $6.99 a month cost ($12.99/month as part of a bundle with Hulu and ESPN+).

Weekly Vs. Binge Watching

In the past, I’ve championed the weekly model of streaming. A big reason for this is that waiting for a new episode each week creates what I like to call a “suspense factor.” At the end of each episode, you get a short preview of what to expect from the next. Thing is, you have to wait seven days for the following episode. Sure, you wish you could watch the next episode right away but there’s only so much time in the day. Besides, the weekly model gives you something to look forward to seeing when the new episode airs.

I like the weekly model and Disney+ is proposing that model. So what’s the problem?

Well, some shows scream binge watch, and The Mandalorian is one of them. I was never a huge Star Wars fan, but I always found the Boba Fett character intriguing. He is a warrior from an enigmatic race of beings called the Mandalorians, of which precious little is known. I’m hoping that The Mandalorian, which is about another such warrior turned bounty hunter, sheds some light on this shadowy group of super soldiers. In other words, that’s a high-action show I’d like to binge watch.

So, You Know What I Think…

…But what are other streamers saying about Disney’s recent decision? Well, most of the chatter I’m picking up on various message boards is mixed. Yes, there are those who think this is a good idea for the exact reasons I’ve listed above, namely the anticipation of what the next episode will bring. Others weren’t so complimentary. Here are just some of the comments I’ve found:

  • “This is basically telling people to wait a few months to start subscribing as you’ll only be able to stream an episode of each show on November 12th. Thanks for the advice!”
  • “I’ll be waiting until 2020 to sign up, and I’ll wait until I can stream all the content at my convenience. Who needs to wait for weeks to complete watching a show in this day and age? That’s just dumb.”
  • “Boooo! you aren’t being better than Netflix if you release episodes on a weekly basis. I could understand Marvel and Star Wars stuff; however, stuff like High School Musical and the rest, release it all.”

These and other comments were a sharp reminder to me that many people stream because they don’t like the network TV format. They want to watch as much of their favorite content as they can, right now, and without commercials. (I’m guilty of that myself, especially with a new season of Stranger Things or 13 Reasons Why.) Like it or not, the binge watching format directly caters to those expectations.

Who Knows What Disney Will Do?

Original series aren’t the only programming that will be available on Disney+. The streaming service is being marketed to “core Disney fans” according to CEO Bog Iger. This probably means that the streaming service will also have plenty of classic Disney shows from its vault, as well as all of the Disney-owned shows that have been pulled off other streaming services. We’re talking Pixar, Marvel, and NatGeo content here, among others. Note: This is only my personal speculation here. What will happen remains to be seen… no pun intended.