As Netflix becomes more like traditional TV networks by commissioning its own shows, traditional TV networks are taking cues from Netflix. NBC today announced that it is making all 13 episodes of its new 1960s-set police drama Aquarius available to watch online after the show's premiere on May 28th, aping the binge-watch-friendly model the streaming service has used for shows such as Arrested Development and Orange Is The New Black.
The entire season of the show — which features X-Files star David Duchovny as a detective looking into the activities of the Manson family in 1967 — will become available on NBC.com and via the network's app, in addition to cable VOD platforms, shortly after the first episode airs on TV. NBC has only opened the show to limited advertisers, meaning people who choose to watch the show online won't be bombarded with more ads than they would watching it on cable.
The show will be available on NBC.com, the network's app, and cable VOD services
NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt didn't specify whether the network would adopt the same release model for future shows, but told Variety that NBC was "fully aware how audiences want to consume multiple episodes of new television series faster and at their own discretion." Those audiences have demonstrated their desire for large chunks of TV they can binge-watch in chunks with rising subscription numbers for streaming services. Increasingly, digital-first companies such as Netflix are defining the future of TV programming, while traditional networks are lagging behind. Greenblatt said Aquarius gave the network "the opportunity to push some new boundaries to give our audience something no broadcast network has done before," but at this point, the idea of making an entire season available to watch on day one is no longer truly novel.