Thursday, March 14, 2013

Netflix & House of Cards

Last month Netflix launched a new original series called House of Cards.  The show, starring Kevin Spacey, tells the story of a Democratic Congressman named Frank Underwood.  It has received a number of favorable reviews.  What I find most interesting about the show, though, is not the plot or the acting.  It's the way in which Netflix introduced the show.  It released all 13 episodes of the show's first "season" simultaneously.   What a fascinating move!  Why?   We know that many Netflix customers engage in "binge viewing" of television series.  They will sit down and watch an entire season of a show over a weekend - all 20 plus episodes.  So, if that's the way that many customers enjoy watching TV series, why not give them an original series in the same format?  It seems fitting.

What's interesting, of course, is that none of the major television broadcast networks have chosen to launch a series in this manner.  Why not?  Why should they be beholden to the ancient once-per-week format for TV series?  If we know consumers like to watch episodes in bunches, why not roll out a series in that manner?  Broadcast networks have watched cable television and the internet erode their ratings for years.  They need to think creatively about their business model.   A move such as this one might be a good step forward. 

2 comments:

Brian said...

Not to mention Netflix's distribution method offers an attractive opportunity for advertisers. A traditional release gives audiences weekly exposure to a related advertiser, whereas, immediate viewing of all episodes introduces multiple commercial views within a 48-hour period through binge viewing. This means there is a greater likelihood the repetitive viewing will help the ad stick in viewers' minds.

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