Netflix has been quite vocal in regards to becoming a legitimate outlet for original television programming that is intended to compete primarily with the kind of shows found on pay-cable services like HBO and Showtime. The service’s trump card, however, may be the way it steers clear of the standard “weekly installment” model currently used by all television networks. The service previously tried its hand with the original series Lilyhammer, starring Steve Van Zandt (The Sopranos), which appeared on the service earlier this year almost as a test to see how subscribers would respond to an entire season being made available for viewing at their leisure.
The model poses an interesting question: with every episode available at the same time, what will this do to the normal build-up and anticipation in regards to a series’ premiere and finale?
Why I am curious
While there is undoubtedly some excitement related to the cast and creators of the series, the real buzz regarding House of Cards is the untraditional manner in which it will be presented to viewers. Not only will the series not air on any television network – cable or otherwise – but all 13 episodes will be made available to Netflix subscribers on February 1, 2013. Netflix’s encouragement of binge viewing could turn a show like House of Cards (which Netflix is reportedly spending $100 million to license over two seasons), into one weekend (or sick day) of viewing–a virtual flash in the pan for Netflix’s voracious subscribers. If House of Cards proves successful, it may herald a new model for the way we view our television series.