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.

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 4 Feb 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.

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