Originally posted on Variety:
It’s not good enough for studios to simply license complete prior seasons and hope audiences just happen to find them. But these deals are becoming increasingly common: When the second season of “The Americans” makes its debut on FX on Feb. 26, its entire previous season will have been available on Prime for nearly a month. A&E’s “Bates Motel” is offering a slightly longer window for the first season, which went live on Netflix Jan. 31, ahead of new episodes March 3.
Reintroducing a series that some potential viewers might otherwise decide to bypass because they missed the first batch of episodes can work particularly well for a second-year show. Try it later in a series’ run, with too many seasons to watch, and what otherwise might have been polished off in a binge view or two now requires a full-blown marathon.
But there’s a whole other rationale for these deals: to collect licensing revenue from SVOD services before the traditional syndication window, still several years down the road, helps recoup deficit-financing. It’s no coincidence all these shows are serialized dramas, which are particularly conducive to binge-viewing in SVOD, and badly in need of extra financial support to survive the linear channel environment that typically punishes the genre.