Instead of releasing new episodes all in one day, the fantasy drama doles them out in weekly installments, just like traditional cable programs. The move may seem old school in a time when Netflix has normalized marathon viewing of TV shows, but it’s actually a major factor in the prolific success of the show. Fans get a reprieve between episodes to react to what happened and speculate about what’s to come. And they have built online and real world communities to do just that.
The show’s permeation into the public consciousness is so pervasive that even people who have never seen “Game of Thrones” before know what it is.
The weekly scheduling has been so key for HBO that analysts have begun to suggest that Netflix and other streaming services that currently offer all-you-can-watch options for their new TV shows ditch that model in favor of returning to a more traditional release schedule.
“I fundamentally believe that Netflix is making a mistake by putting [content] out there the way they do,” Doug Creutz, analyst at Cowen, said.
He said that the streaming service could benefit from putting out episodes its bigger shows like “Stranger Things” one at a time to capitalize on fan excitement and engagement.
“I personally like that there’s a week to process and work through the episode,” Kelsey Daniel, 28, of Virginia, said. “There’s so much to decipher between the show and the books and I really enjoy reading up on fan theories. I don’t feel like I retain as much from shows that I binge watch on Netflix.”