Weekly vs. Bulk Releasing? Well, Tradition-Bound HBO's 'House of the Dragon' Beat Binge-Minded Netflix's 'Wednesday'

House of the Dragon on HBO
(Image credit: HBO)

The debate over which series distribution strategy is best, the "bulk release" strategy favored by Netflix vs. the weekly release paradigm preferred by traditional media incumbents, remains unsettled. 

But Samba TV, which measures smart TV viewership, shed a little light on the subject by comparing viewership for 2022's top shows on subscription video platforms. 

As the chart below shows, Netflix generated more U.S. viewership after 50 days by releasing all eight episodes of Wednesday on Nov. 23, but HBO actually garnered more overall watching for House of the Dragon by staggering release of the Game of Thrones prequel's episodes on a weekly basis from August through October. 

(Image credit: Samba TV)

Of the 20 biggest U.S. series subscription premieres as measured by Samba TV, nine were released all at once, with three shows staggered into two stages of release. Eight shows had traditional weekly releases. 

(Image credit: Samba TV)

Bulk releasing might deliver a bigger initial viewer turnout, but Samba TV found that the per-episode "tune-in" increased far more over the lifespan of the release window for shows that were trickled out weekly and had time to slowly build a following. 

(Image credit: Samba TV)

And while traditional one-a-week releasing allows for shows to add more new viewers over time, core viewers that caught the first episode are more likely to stick with a show if it's released all at once. 

(Image credit: Samba TV)
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!