After Netflix debuted “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” by releasing entire seasons at the same time, much was made about the OTT service’s binge-viewing friendliness. So, it’s no surprise that the decision to only offer a limited number of episodes of new animated children’s original “Turbo Fast” (launching Christmas Eve) is drawing a lot of attention.
My take: it won’t matter. Right now, my son only has 3 episodes of “Dora the Explorer” available to watch on demand. He doesn’t care. He will watch the same episodes repeatedly. Sometimes even asking to watch the one he just finished again. The same applies to the 3-minute long Mickey Mouse shorts on Disney Channel. My 8-year-old daughter has seen them all several times, but she rewatches them regularly. A new short is exciting, but she’s just as content watching her favorites. In fact, both kids get very angry when a well-worn episode suddenly disappears from on demand. Familiarity is a comfort thing.
With Netflix releasing five episodes of Turbo Fast at launch, kids will have enough episodes and variety to keep them rewatching if—and here’s the big if that Netflix is betting on—they like the show. Working in Netflix’s favor is that Turbo is not an unknown since it’s based on DreamWorks’ ’13 movie. It wasn’t a huge hit, but through heavy marketing, kids are generally aware of the character and may have at least caught it after the DVD release. That should help sampling.
Turbo, of course, is no Piper Kerman. No matter how much adults may enjoy Crazy Eyes, they’re unlikely to watch a single episode more than a time or two. I don’t think Netflix fans should worry that Orange and other series will go the way of Turbo in the near future. Netflix is loving the buzz by being binge-friendly on scripted series, and ratcheting releases down to a snail’s pace would draw too much backlash.