Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Netflix Won’t Let Your Kids Binge (Quite as Much) With “Turbo,” Its Newest Original

When Netflix started its big push into original TV shows this year, it played up its binge-friendly strategy: Each time the streaming service debuted a new show, like “House of Cards,” it released a season’s worth of episodes in one day.

But that won’t be the case with Netflix’s newest show. When “Turbo Fast” debuts on Christmas Eve, your kids will only be able to watch five episodes of the animated series based on this year’s DreamWorks movie.

After that, they’ll have to wait until … later. Netflix isn’t committing to a release schedule, but said there will be “additional all-new episodes premiering throughout the year.”

In the past, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has argued that releasing a season at a time was as logical as publishing an entire novel in one sitting. So, what has changed?

“Production on animation is [on a] different timetable so we chose to make the episodes that are ready now, available for viewers as they were ready,” said Netflix PR head Jonathan Friedland, via email. “Historically we have said that original series will be released in ways that best support the story — so if it suits the show — always possible we could release in a different way.”

That makes some sense. It’s also possible that kids who shovel lots of Netflix into their heads don’t really care if they’re watching an entire season in one sitting or not — they just want to watch stuff, period. This isn’t like cutting off “Orange Is the New Black” just as Piper is starting to figure out prison culture.

What will be interesting to see is whether Netflix ends up tweaking its release strategy for non-animated stuff down the line. Its competitors at Amazon have already decided to follow a different route: They’re putting out a handful of episodes of shows like “Alpha House” when they debut, then rolling out a new one every week.

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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo