The Drip vs. The Binge


My last post was about how what crosses our feeds is what we consume.

Today's post is about the dimension of timing of feeds.

“The Binge” is when someone releases a catalogue all at once. 
We’re familiar with this, as pioneered by Netflix, but, also it was the common format of music albums, books, and many other items.

At one point in time, however, shows were almost always utilizing the “Drip” format.

The Drip was important when we were synched up and would talk about the shows we watched every week. I remember watching “24” and after every episode we would have arrived at a cliffhanger (literally every episode was one) so that week we had the time and space to anticipate, discuss, await until the next week's showing. The content was dripped out in time to build and release tension. 

"The Binge", on the other hand allows you to
go at your own speed.

For some. that’s a marathon; 10 Episodes in 2 days.

For others, they create their own system for how best to “Drip” - maybe they watch on a Saturday or Sunday, 2 episodes a week for 5 weeks. 

The reason “The Binge” style release seems optimal is for the reason stated above: that it gives you both the option to binge it all at once or go at any speed you would like, whereas “The Drip” only has two options.

One is to consume in real time as it is dripped. 
The second is to binge once everything has fully been put out in the public. (If you're able to purchase it in that way). 

I think there’s something deeper going on for “The Drip,” though.

Of course your customers/viewers/audience want everything to be a “Binge” opportunity. For them that means the greatest possible range of consumption on their own terms.

But that doesn’t mean you should always give it to them.

There’s a reason we enjoy Tapas. 

Would you really enjoy it if they put out the next 4 Star Wars films 4 days in a row to view? 

It is possible that consumers really don't always understand the best method of consumption for themselves. 

The Drip retains a few advantages despite it's drawbacks.

The first is that it creates a cycle of anticipation, a hit of dopamine, and then ramp up of tension to still be realized. This  is something that is deeply pleasing to us. 

The other is that "Drip" style of distribution allows for better focus.

Like the name, the binge is a gorge of information, thus we tend to appreciate the details less. The Drip can allow us to pay more attention to the nuance of each and every item.

Then again… with the binge format we see the full picture a lot more clear, as everything is in context together.

Consider some other Drip vs. Binge scenarios:

  • Concerts vs. Music Festivals.
  • Tapas vs. Buffet
  • Halloween vs. Hannukah 
  • Albums vs. Singles

There isn't an optimal "drip" or "binge" for every product, rather that we need to decide when it's appropriate for our work. and that the context matters.

How we select a pace for release is infused with the value proposition of the product.

When an artist creates and shares his or her work, it is done as a conversation with the audience. So the timing of when to speak and when to be quiet, matter. 

For the Gold today I wanted to share Kaiseki, which is a pure Drip format. It's "binge-styled-sibling" would be the buffet.


Kaiseki is a Japanese dining experience that uses a strict menu, and order for how it is served. Dinner as a carefully staged ceremony.