Netflix becomes television player


After mastering the mail-order DVD movie biz; then conquering the streaming movie delivery biz, Netflix continues to blow up traditional media models, this time getting into yet another new arena—premium television. Yes, HBO and Showtime have a new competitor, as Netflix announced 3/18 it is licensing the exclusive rights to “House of Cards,” a show which to be directed by David Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” and star Kevin Spacey.

Rather than having its debut at a certain time and date as on a network like Showtime, “House of Cards” will debut online, where there are no times. “Just a couple years ago, this would be completely unheard of,” the chief content officer for Netflix, Ted Sarandos told the NY Times. “It speaks a lot to how quickly this market is emerging; and to how quickly Netflix has become a real, legitimate entertainment brand in the eyes of both consumers and content creators.”

“House of Cards,” 26 episodes strong (equal to two seasons of traditional TV shows), is expected to debut on in late 2012 via producer Media Rights Capital.

Sarandos said he’s not in any active discussions about picking up other shows, but that he will consider it in the future.

“House of Cards” is based on a novel of the same name about a British politician who wants to succeed Margaret Thatcher as the prime minister of Britain. The show, has Fincher on a director and executive producer, and Spacey as an executive producer and star. It is filmed in the US.

RBR-TVBR observation: We wonder how advertising will play a part, since it is paid, premium content. It will likely have some advertising in the mix, and potentially a little integrated advertising in the show. What’s interesting also is the 26 episodes per year. This could change the level of show loyalty with the audience. We may see the debut of “super-fans” from this frequency of program release. They can also watch it when they want, without having to DVR it (not all shows are available on demand).