The End of the F***ing World, one of Netflix's most brilliant original series, was first pitched as a movie, and when I first saw the trailer, having never heard of it, I assumed that's what it was. Everything about it screamed movie, apart from the fact it appeared on Netflix in eight discrete episodes.

The episodes, each of which ends with a cliffhanger, presumably to maximise the likelihood of viewer return, are roughly 20 minutes long, which means you can watch the whole series in the time it would take to watch a Lord of the Rings film and still have time left over to write a newspaper column about it.

The term "snackable content" was popularised in New Zealand by swimmer Mark Weldon, who used it to justify his plan to gut TV3's industry-leading news and current affairs department and replace it with hours of excrement. Weldon's usage, and its association with both him and the human misery he visited upon his company gave the term a veneer of ridiculousness - but maybe he had a point after all.

We are increasingly unable to focus on any form of entertainment for much longer than a few minutes before being hit by a compulsive urge to open Twitter, where we then gripe about having to read anything longer than 140 characters.


Would The End of the F***ing World have been as successful as it has been if it were a movie, requiring us to sit down and watch it in the sort of long, unbroken block of time we increasingly are unable or unwilling to find? Maybe this was the exact question being asked at Netflix HQ when someone first approached them with the underground graphic novel that is the show's source material.

Early in the opening episode, while sitting alone in the school cafeteria, adorable psychopath James is approached for the first time by Alyssa, who he will soon express an interest in killing. "I've seen you skating," she says. "You're pretty shit".

"F** off" he says, with such a complete lack of expression and emotion that it's necessary to rewind to check he has spoken at all.

It's probably the best cute meet in rom com history - except rom coms are movies.

The first season of The End of the F***ing World has a clear beginning and a clear end and there is no need for a second season beyond the obvious desire to continue to captivate an audience already attached to its characters and their foibles.

That's all to say it's obviously a movie, except it's not. It's possible this decision was made by the show's creatives, for creative reasons, but equally likely is that the decision has been driven by Netflix's vast and growing trove of data on its customers' behaviour, which allows it increasing access to and understanding of how we now watch, which is by snacking.

That was also the conclusion Weldon came to back in 2015. The apotheosis of his snackable dream was the Rachel Glucina-led entertain e Scout. Scout's opening gambit, which came less than a year before its closing gambit, was a short video of Mike Hosking vacuuming his car. Not all snacks are created equal.