Netflix helped cultivate our binge-watching obsession, and as I wrote at Quartz, it’s now fighting with networks and cable/satellite providers over in-season binge-viewing, also known as stacking:
When it comes to binge-watching a show’s current season, options are very limited. The studio’s deals with Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu Plus usually cap the number of current episodes a network can offer via video on demand (VOD) at five. So if viewers want to binge, unless they purchase individual episodes via iTunes or Amazon on Demand, they must wait until the summer when the whole season becomes available via a streaming provider, which denies networks (and their advertisers) the opportunity to capitalize on these eager new potential viewers.
Networks are increasingly pushing to offer all episodes of a current season, what’s known as “in-season stacking rights,”on demand via VOD, online and the network’s mobile applications. “That’s where the big fight is happening now,” said Marc Graboff, president of Core Media Group, American Idol’s parent company, said at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit on Oct. 21.
In short, it’s moronic that audiences don’t have the option to watch all episodes of a show’s current season, but until the networks, studios, advertisers and Netflix learn how to play nice, nothing is going to change.