Netflix Releases All 13 Episodes Of Its Own TV Show House Of Cards At Once

from the day-and-datish? dept

We've been reasonably concerned about the growing fragmentation of online video, especially as Netflix is trying to directly take on HBO, Showtime and others, while still offering them an online outlet for their content. There's been plenty of buzz about Netflix's new series, House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher. Most people are talking about how Netflix spent a supposed $100 million on the series, and how it's trying to be for Netflix what The Sopranos was for HBO. However, what's probably more interesting is the fact that Netflix is releasing the entire first season -- all 13 episodes -- at once today. It's something of a recognition of how many people view TV series today.

Netflix, of course, understands this quite well, as its streaming service has become quite popular with people as a way to "catch up" on the hot TV shows from last year that people missed when they were first aired. A growing number of people really really like just being able to "binge" on a TV show and watch them all over a short period of time. However, some purists worry that releasing all of the episodes at once takes away from some of the suspense and enjoyment. At the very least, it limits the "watercooler" moments the day after something airs, but with so many people just recording stuff and watching it later, that social moment was under attack already anyway.

It will be interesting to see how well the show does, and how people react to all 13 episodes being available at once. Perhaps my brain is still stuck in the "old way" of television, but this strikes me as quite different than something like movie windows, which feel really stupid. A "series" that dribbles out content once a week (but lets anyone catch up with full episodes later), seems perfectly reasonable. I almost wonder if releasing all the episodes at once takes away from long term buzz for the show as a story arc grows across a season. Also, it may make for a different kind of commitment from viewers. People who might jump in knowing that they're really only committing an hour, may be more fearful about recognizing they may be about to get sucked in to something much longer.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    I am excited...

    .


    Today, I am excited and proud to be a Netflix customer.


    Just a little more of this stuff and participation from other networks and I will DUMP DirecTV like an ugly, smelly prom date.


    .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Forest_GS (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:39pm

    A very interesting attempt at innovation from a different angle. I'm looking forward to the statistics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    It will be interesting to see how much inspiration the Netflix version draws from the original British series. Rats anyone?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    charliebrown (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:54pm

    I often watch a full season of a show over the course of a week. Heck, I've been holding out watching some shows just so I can watch the whole season in a week or two after it finishes airing.

    Downside? I've been holding out on "Dexter" since it first started as I want to watch every episode of every season non-stop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:57pm

    I was thinking about this issue when I heard about it yesterday. I'm guessing Netflix had enough stats to know it wouldn't hurt viewership. And if that's the case, then this approach gives the viewer more options: Binge if you want, trickle if you don't...

    I like options, even ones I don't use (like being able to buy booze all night long in Nevada).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Nigel (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:58pm

    I watched EP1 and was surprised it pushed me EP2 but fell asleep. All things considered its actually pretty darn good.

    I like being able to churn though a bunch of episodes at once as well. If I like it I seem to want more. Waiting sucks.

    Nigel

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    Re:

    > Downside? I've been holding out on "Dexter"
    > since it first started as I want to watch
    > every episode of every season non-stop.

    I was doing that with BREAKING BAD and I kinda regret it. After a while, the number episodes becomes so great that I get burnt out on it and it ends up sitting for weeks at a time before I come back to it.

    It's one thing to binge on 12 episodes of a show at a time. It's another to try it with 50+ episodes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    With the way the big networks cancel shows these days, I think this is great. I won't even start watching a show until a season is over anyway. If I start watching right away, it usually gets canceled and any excitement I had is ruined. At least by waiting, I know what to expect. So in my case, these common cancellation practices of the big networks have caused them to lose a viewer early on when they want them the most.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:03pm

    Re: I am excited...

    Today, I am excited and proud to be a Netflix customer

    Fear not, I'm sure tomorrow they will get out the lube.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    scothony (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:04pm

    Well, since I work at the Peabody Institute, where some of the series was filmed, I will be watching - though I would be watching it anyway, simply to support the disturbance in the force of the big content shildren.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:06pm

    "I almost wonder if releasing all the episodes at once takes away from long term buzz for the show as a story arc grows across a season."
    I'd have to agree with this. Being a total nerd and watching a lot of anime, both old and new, I can say that I'm more likely to have a fond view of a show that's spread out over three months than one that I watch in two to three sittings. A spectacular show can make up for the lack of anticipation, but overall the weekly schedule works better. While fiddling with alternative release schedules, maybe try different amounts in a given timeframe? Perhaps two episodes a week, or maybe (show permitting) variable length episodes containing an entire story arc?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:09pm

    I don't do dribble

    For a few years now, I only watch TV series when I can see at least a full season at once. For new series, I don't watch them at all until at least a full season is at hand.

    The old way of watching an episode a week drove me nuts even when there was no other option. When I tried to keep up, as often as not, I'd miss an episode and them just never come back to it.

    Perhaps this reduces "watercooler" discussions, but honestly, I'd never seen much of that anyway. I think in my adult life I can only remember one time that office talk was about some TV show (Heroes), and that was only because there was a coworker who was insanely obsessed with the show.

    So Netflix' decision is good for me. If they did it any other way, I'd just be waiting until they were all released to watch them anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    OG, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:35pm

    Practical reasons

    One of the reasons TV series "dribble" week by week is the practical consideration that they start showing the series while still filming/editing the end of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 4:58pm

    Re: Practical reasons

    Gives shitty writers a chance to play Calvinball with the story.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Canadian, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 5:02pm

    I think it is a great idea to get them all out there at once. Not needing to cater to advertisers allowed them to film the first season as a 13 hour movie so it will be interesting to see how that translates to the screen. Also leaves me wondering how many people will sign up for a free month to check it out. Might lead to a solid fresh user base overall once new customers get to see what Netflix is all about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: Practical reasons

    So is the score still Q to 12, or is it now Oogy to Boogy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 5:15pm

    Re: I don't do dribble

    For a few years now, I only watch TV series when I can see at least a full season at once. For new series, I don't watch them at all until at least a full season is at hand.

    Just wanted to support this. I havent watched dribble content in years. I also dont do sitcom "self containted" shows either. Give me substance, and more than a 5 minute story arc please! also, im patient, but impatient. I will gladly wait til the season is over to start watching it, but once I start... I wont stop til its all watched!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 5:34pm

    Fucking A! I hate waiting week after week to watch a show. I always wait till the season ends so I can kick back on the weekend and enjoy it all at once.

    A lot of them seem to drag it out over very long periods of time. I could understand this if they were still making them but some of them have a full season already finished before it airs.

    I mean even if they do they should make it where you can buy it in stores or online soon as it is finished.
    I have almost zero reason to buy them if I already recorded them on my DVR. Now if I could get all of that ahead of TV air time it would most definitely be worth my money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Chris Mikaitis (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 5:44pm

    Other thoughts

    I heard on a podcast (probably NPR), that they kept to the 'hour long' time frame since some places can't get Netflix, but that the future (of this and other shows) will be episodes of whatever length it takes. Whether that is 20 minutes or 2 hours, Netflix gives shows the freedom to no longer need to 'pad' an episode to meet a specific schedule. That is the change I am most looking forward to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 6:10pm

    Personally I feel there is room for both models. I like some shows being weekly episodic content, and some shows being available for binge viewing.

    Its like the walking dead video game vs other video games. Twd was a 5 part episodic video game that spaced it out over several months letting the anticipation build and everyone was talking about it, while other games let you experience the whole game as fast as you can play through it. Both are valid experiences (and no, refraining from binge viewing isn't the same thing, its no longer a shared experience when all your friends have binge viewed and moved on).

    Or another example is Stephen Kings The Green Mile. My best friend and I eagerly awaited for every new issue and talked about it before and after, but we also enjoyed reading his regular novels just as but in a different way.

    Anyway, point is, both offer unique and interesting experiences and I like both models...its just now thanks to Netflix I won't have to wait for some shows to build up a seasons worth of episodes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Madness, This is Madness!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 7:27pm

    Re:

    The original British series was exceptional, and will be an extremely hard act to follow... it'll be interesting to see how the new series compares.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 9:05pm

    I'm a little torn when it comes to dribbling out TV shows. On one hand, I consume a lot of my TV in full sittings, so this is good. Also, it prevents executives from pushing their agendas and ruining a good story based on what they believe viewers want.

    On the other hand, a lot of good series have been helped by regular input after each show, especially when it comes to telling writers to tone down their pet characters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Nic, Feb 1st, 2013 @ 9:31pm

    I used the first free month subscription just to watch that series. In case people didn't know, the premiere is available to all on their website. I've only watched 5 episodes so far and I really like it.

    But yes, I have to admit an episode every week creates buzz and excitement, even if it's frustrating to wait a whole week for the next episode. Cliffhangers are somewhat of a necessary evil to grow popularity. Then again, Netflix can always prove me wrong! Who knows?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    vegetaman (profile), Feb 1st, 2013 @ 10:18pm

    Battlestar Galactica - Blood & Chrome

    BSG: Blood and Chrome was released onto youtube a week at a time. I thought that was pretty good. I feel like getting all 13 episodes in one shot is sort of like Caprica did at the end, just to burn off the episodes. You need some sort of time delay, I think, just to make people want it. A handful of people want to consume the series when it is all out all at once at the end. However, plenty of others enjoy just having a couple of shows to watch a week. But, it should be neat to see it play out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    bob, Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 1:26am

    Re:

    I agree. This will never work for people or businesses who are too big or too small or too famous or too unknown or too rich or too poor to succeed or fail.

    And just in case you think you've got an answer, I claim that the above applies to everyone within that same spectrum. This will never, ever, EVER work. So there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 1:32am

    Re:

    I on the other hand much prefer to watch and entire season over a short period. The whole waiting for a week, two weeks, months etc. is just pointless.

    If all the episodes are available in one go I can choose to watch them back to back and you can choose to watch one per week, or however you want to break them up.

    That is the best thing about choice - flexibility and being able to suit a much broader range of people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 6:27am

    I loved the original series and the talent involved here gets me very interested. Ironically however, due to Netflix's agreements with the legacy industries I can't access it, although I'm sure they would make their service available to me if they could. Thankfully, VPN technology allows me to bypass those restrictions and I intend to watch it via the subscription I'm technically not allowed to pay for. I'm sure some morons here will not only refuse to recognise that said restrictions will not only encourage piracy among my fellow ex-pats, but call me a pirate because I pay more than a normal subscriber to access the service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 6:29am

    Re: Battlestar Galactica - Blood & Chrome

    Well, that's the beauty of this kind of service - choice. If you want to watch everything in one shot, you can. If you prefer to space it out on a schedule that suits you - you can. The problems only arise when you try to enforce a schedule on those who don't like it or can't keep it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 6:47am

    What is it with the US

    That they think of old things as new - first they think Sodastream is a new idea and now they remake House of Cards. Don't get me wrong, the original was a great series and I'm sure the US remake will be good too - but the idea isn't new - and although Kevin Spacey is a great actor he is unlikely to match the sheer presence of Ian Richardson.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Re: What is it with the US

    While I'm opposed to pointless remakes, I can see the promise here. US politics is very different to UK politics, and while the original is excellent, it's also very much a Thatcher era product. A new version today with a different political slant makes a lot of sense, and I'm sure the talent involved will bring a quality product to the screen. From what I've heard, Spacey does a few similar things to Richardson's character (breaking the fourth wall, etc.), but he's not attempting to copy him, which is fine. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm afraid I might lose it if Spacey says he "couldn't possibly comment" on something...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re:

    A spectacular show can make up for the lack of anticipation, but overall the weekly schedule works better.


    Funny, I tend to spend very little time anticipating a new episode. I just forget about it until something reminds me that the new episode has come out, or if I really care, I'll check about the time it should be coming out.

    Basic Pavlovian psychology supports this for any kind of fixed schedule.

    In other words, the most anticipation can do is ensure I'm around when the next episode comes out. If the next episode is already there, they need far less to convince me to watch it.


    Then again, I never really developed the habit of watching things on TV channels. Before there were other options, I always just grabbed a book, which did have all the options.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    Madness breaks things. Broken things provide insight into how to build them better. I like madness.

    Everything else just makes the world go round

    and round in circles.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    charliebrown (profile), Feb 3rd, 2013 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re:

    Exactly! I've been thinking of starting "Dexter" anyway and just watching a season (or two) but then take a break for a couple of weeks before watching the next.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 1:24am

    I'm sort of divided here. They could have launched it like one episode every 2 or 3 days for some speedy release while still maintaining the buzz. But it's an interesting experiment.

    Did they release it with no restrictions? (ie: geo blocking, platform specific etc?)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 1:42am

    Re:

    "They could have launched it like one episode every 2 or 3 days for some speedy release while still maintaining the buzz."

    That would have been a massive mistake. People subscribing to Netflix are accustomed to having full season box sets to go through, and artificial windowing is a big driver toward piracy. Given that the entire point of creating the series in the first place is to drive customers to their site, it would be a really bad thing to offer a lower level of service with their own content.

    "Did they release it with no restrictions? (ie: geo blocking, platform specific etc?)"

    Only insofar as they offered it as part of their standard service. So, if you have a device that can normally play Netflix content and Netflix is available in your country, it wasn't restricted. For the rest of us, VPNs take care of that. It's annoying that they have imposed the same restrictions usually forced onto them by other content providers for their own content, but again given that the idea is to drive more regular subscriptions I can see why they haven't opened it up to people who can't subscribe to their normal service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Adam, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 4:51am

    I hardly ever watch the garbage on tv anymore, but I did grab the series of The Event a few weeks back and watched the whole series in a day. Its was a fantastic experience, and I look forward to doing it again if I could only find something which was worth watching! Sadly The Event stopped short and I'm left unsatisfied with a premature ending :( I'm willing to give this show a look over though, and glad to see the more modern media companies are finally beginning to catch up to what their viewers want to watch and how they want to watch it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This