Major TV networks are following the Netflix model and releasing all episodes to series at once
The move poses a direct challenge to Netflix and a way for more traditional networks to reach for younger, digital-savvy consumers who insist on watching on their own schedules.
Walt Disney network Freeform, which targets a younger audience, put the entire 10-episode season of new sci-fi drama Beyond on digital and on-demand platforms on January 2, a first for the channel. By January 10, it was ready to order a second season.
"There are moments when it's really hard to make a decision about a pickup," Freeform President Tom Ascheim said, announcing the renewal at a Television Critics Association event. "This is not one of those moments."
In short, it's becoming an internet TV world
Roughly 14 million people watched Beyond on TV and online during the first week. About 745,000 have finished the season on various platforms, the network said.
In its earnings report this week, Netflix highlighted growing competition from rivals that are adopting the strategy.
The BBC, for example, announced earlier this month it would distribute full seasons of major series on its digital platform before the episodes run on traditional linear television.
The BBC announced earlier this month that they would endorse the 'binge watching' model
"We presume HBO is not far behind the BBC," Netflix added.
A spokesman for HBO, owned by Time Warner, had no comment.
"In short, it's becoming an internet TV world, which presents both challenges and opportunities for Netflix as we strive to earn screen time," Netflix said.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
House of Cards was one of the first series where all the episodes were released simultaneously
Netflix popularised binge viewing with the 2013 release of the entire season of House of Cards.
The company's monthly subscription service reached 94 million customers at the end of 2016, it said.
Comcast Corp's NBC became the first US broadcast network to try the release-at-once idea in 2015 when it put 13 episodes of drama Aquarius online right after the premiere aired on TV.
New releases on Netflix
Mon, January 9, 2017
Netflix brings us an exciting 2017 with lots of new shows and plenty of films to look forward to.
1 of 11
Netflix's biggest new releases
NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said shortly after the experiment that he would consider it again for the occasional show but it would not become standard practice.
The tactic is not popular with affiliate stations, Mr Greenblatt said at the time.
But advertisers see some advantages to the release of entire seasons in one batch, said Andy Donchin, the chief investment officer at Dentsu Aegis Network.
94 million people used Netflix's streaming service in 2016
"If people want to binge view like that and they seek it out, they are probably highly engaged viewers," Mr Donchin said.
"If you're engaged in the programme, hopefully you'll be just as engaged with the commercials."