Netflix Changes 'The Great British Baking Show' To A Weekly Release: Could This Signal A Shift For The Streaming Giant?

It's been less than a decade since Netflix pioneered the binge model, releasing the episodes of its original titles like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black all at once, thereby disrupting the television industry and changing how we all watch TV. But now, as intimidating competitors like Disney+ begin to emerge, Netflix may be changing how it does things.

The streaming platform is reportedly testing out weekly releases for a few titles, including the The Great British Baking Show, which shifted from a binge release to week-to-week this season. With that change for this incredibly popular reality series, could more Netflix weekly releases be in the future?

According to The Wrap, Netflix is changing up the release format for The Great British Baking Show, debuting the 10th season of the popular British cooking show on August 30 with only the premiere episode. The 10th season of The Great British Baking Show will debut almost simultaneously (four days after it airs in the U.K.) with the episodes as they air in the U.K. on Channel 4, rather than making viewers wait until the entire season is finished airing. The Wrap notes:

That is different from how Netflix has aired previous seasons of the show, which sees amateur bakers compete against one another. Until now, Netflix had released all 10 episodes of a new season together, which came well after their U.K. run on BBC One.

Along with The Great British Baking Show, Netflix's new hip-hop talent show, Rhythm + Flow, will be released on a weekly basis. The reason for these shows' weekly releases is because the former is licensed content, and the latter is a reality series that will keep the "winner a surprise," Netflix explained in a statement released on Twitter.

While Netflix states that there aren't any plans to release any more series on a weekly basis, this change in tactic has led some to speculate that this could signal a shift in Netflix's previously steadfast resolve to release entire seasons at once. Netflix has loudly beat the drum for its binge-watching model, which inarguably has had an impact on audience viewing habits.

But the streaming service has introduced different viewing models before. Netflix's original talk shows like The Patriot Act with Hasan Minaj and Chelsea Handler's Chelsea maintained a weekly format while several of the platform's international titles produced out-of-house were released weekly — most of them K-dramas. This experimentation with a Netflix weekly releases model isn't totally new for the streaming service, though it is significant that a formerly binged series is shifting to weekly. However, it is probably unlikely for now that an original title produced in-house, like Stranger Things, will get the week-to-week release method.

While Hulu has been releasing its original titles on a weekly basis for a while now, it's probably noteworthy that this Netflix shift happens as Disney readies its launch of the streaming platform Disney+, whose series like the highly anticipated The Mandalorian, will take a weekly format. Add on the pressure from emerging competitors like HBO Max and Apple TV+, it wouldn't be a surprise if Netflix is attempting new methods to keep subscribers from cancelling.