When Netflix outbid HBO and AMC for the rights to the political drama “House of Cards,” it made a $100 million gamble that an online streaming service could do television better than the networks. So did it work? According to a survey by investment firm Cowen and Co., Netflix subscribers said they were 86% more likely to keep their membership now that “House of Cards” was available and Netflix said the show is now the most watched on its service. Unlike traditional television, Netflix released the entire first season of “House of Cards” on Feb. 1 so they can be watched “marathon-style.” The company has yet to release any hard data, but it is estimated that about 2.7 million viewers watched the show in the first 12 days of availability, according to CNBC.
The big-budget gamble seems to be paying off for the streaming service and justifying the move into content-creation, but “House of Cards” is just the beginning for what Netflix has in mind. They don’t just want to take over online media, they want to take over television itself.
The Awards Season
“House of Cards” is a 50-minute political drama staring Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, a House Majority Whip who, after being passed up for consideration as Secretary of State, decides to manipulate and corrupt the very system he’s a part of for personal gain. Spacey’s performance, alongside co-stars Robin Wright and Kate Mara, is gaining momentum in the Emmys and other television awards shows. This is news that worries the likes of network and cable executives.
In 2008, the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences, decided that content from services like Netflix could compete in the same category as broadcast and cable contenders, according to Yahoo. The might not have meant much in 2008, but “House of Cards” is looking to shake up the status quo dominated by cable for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as other acting awards.
“I suspect that 2008 will join 1988, when the Academy introduced cable into eligibility, as a landmark year in the history of the Primetime Emmys,” said John Leverence, senior vice president with the TV academy, in an interview with Yahoo. If “House of Cards” steals one of these awards away from traditional networks, it could solidify its place in original content creation.
The cult comedy that lost its home at Fox in 2006 has been revived for a new season exclusively on Netflix. “Arrested Development,” which starred familiar names like Jason Bateman and Michel Cera, became a fan-favorite during its short life on broadcast television, but poor ratings and mismanagement from Fox led to cancelation after just three years of airtime. Rumors of a revival were palpable but remained just that until Netflix finally stepped up to the plate.
The Bluth family is moving back in the model home with a 14-episode season airing on Netflix in May, according to CNET. Like “House of Cards,” all the episodes will be available at once and will feature the entire original cast, along with new appearances from stars like Kristin Wiig and Seth Rogan. The rumor mill is churning with the idea that the show’s creator, Mitchell Hurwitz, is developing a feature-length film to follow the new season, but the show itself is confirmed and a done deal.
Dreamworks Animation is partnering with Netflix to create a children’s animated series that will complement a Dreamworks feature film. The kid’s series, “Turbo F.A.S.T.,” will follow the movie “Turbo” that’s slated for theaters this June, according to The New York Times. Netflix is counting on the movie’s success in June to fuel the show when it’s released in December.
2013 is looking big for Netflix and its future. It’s still too soon to tell what the success will do to the price of content across all the mediums. According to www.directtvdeal.com, a basic television package and start around $30 per month, while Netflix is $7.99 per month. Of course, the amenities for each service are wildly different, but if Netflix continues on the upward path, we could see some serious changes in what we pay for content in the future.