Netflix needs to change the way it releases shows if it wants to maximize Star Trek's brand

Netflix's way of releasing shows may negate any positive impact Star Trek: Prodigy could see under the brand.
STAR TREK: PRODIGY: Ep#106 -- Brett Gray as Dal in STAR TREK: PRODIGY streaming on Paramount+ Photo: Nickelodeon/Paramount+ ©2021 VIACOM INTERNATIONAL. All Rights Reserved.
STAR TREK: PRODIGY: Ep#106 -- Brett Gray as Dal in STAR TREK: PRODIGY streaming on Paramount+ Photo: Nickelodeon/Paramount+ ©2021 VIACOM INTERNATIONAL. All Rights Reserved. /

Netflix stands to significantly improve the Star Trek brand if it can help Star Trek: Prodigy reach new heights. The show did well enough on Paramount+, with engagement at or near the levels of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, though the hours watched weren't well known at the time. It was considered to be a well-received show and was trending quite a bit. It was, however, also a show tied to the Playmates Star Trek toy line, which was shuttered fairly quickly due to a lack of sales.

Due to the failure of the toy line, as we've seen before, the service canceled the show despite the success it saw. It's a common practice, and in more recent years saw it affect the DC Comics superhero show Young Justice. Despite strong ratings, Cartoon Network canceled the show on a cliffhanger, leaving fans wondering what's next.

Prodigy was a victim of the same set of circumstances, and may have been lost to either of the times had it not been for Netflix. The streaming giant may be able to not only keep the show going but give the series its biggest potential audience ever. More so than any other show that Paramount Global has seen since the end of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005.

Netflix has three times the reach as Paramount+, and could easily get more eyeballs on the brand. Considering a great deal of Paramount+ subscribers are there either due to mergers or the NFL offerings, even the base they have isn't enough to sustain Star Trek going forward.

Financial woes and a limited viewer base have dramatically impacted how much money is being spent on Star Trek. It's not a brand they feel can carry the service, which is why it went from having six shows to just two ( Strange New Worlds and Starfleet Academy).

With rumors of Skydance merging with Paramount Global, one of the things most expected to get shuttered has been the money pit that is Paramount+. If that happens, then Star Trek would likely return to Netflix, where more fans could likely discover this fantastic series.

That only works, however, if Netflix doesn't nerf the show's potential. While it works for some shows, like Wednesday, the Addams Family series starring Jenny Ortega, dropping every episode at once is no longer sustainable. It kills shows and reduces the amount of hype around it. The binging model is dead, and with so much going on in our day-to-day lives, no one has time anymore to watch hours of hours of shows.

Nor the desire to subject themselves to one series at a time. It burns people out. Yet, that's what's about to happen to Prodigy, as Netflix is expected to drop all 20 episodes at the same time.

The philosophy where shows get dropped once a week is the way to go. It's a tried and true method and it not only allows fans to spend less time watching one thing, thus promoting burnout. It also allows shows to last longer in the zeitgeist. Thus making a show more sustainable long-term, knowing that you'll have interest and interactions on it for at least 10 weeks, as opposed to 10 days.

Prodigy needs to be a weekly event, but it won't be, because Netflix is stuck in the past. That model is tired and partially part of the reason for Netflix's huge debt. A lot of people are taking up the method of unsubscribing from streaming services for chunks at a time as costs rise. They'll return for a new season of as how they like, but it's no longer a recurring charge for many Americans.

That means that dropping everything at once is just going to allow fans to unsubscribe after a show is released. Delaying things will keep more people around, as they're forced to tune in every week to watch the show, instead of just watching it over a week.

That means that shows like Prodigy would benefit from being released over a series of weeks, as opposed to all at once. Fans would stick around, tune in and watch. Add a few more Star Trek series and you'll see a steady stream of support. Yet, if fans tune out after Prodigy's "drop" is over, and the numbers dip or aren't where Netflix wants them to be, Prodigy could get axed.

If the show has to compete with a lot of competition that week, then there may be no hope we get a third season. Longer runs work better for shows and films. It allows an audience to find them, allowing for the natural growth of a brand. It works far better than staking an entire show or film's value on its opening day or week.

Netflix needs to change their model if Prodigy is to thrive.