According to Deadline, Netflix managed to outbid cable giants HBO and AMC for Media Rights Capital’s “House of Cards,” an upcoming drama series directed by David Fincher, who will also co-executive produce the show with Kevin Spacey.
Netflix reportedly struck a massive deal that includes two full seasons — 26 episodes total — right from the get-go. That’s twenty more than AMC was given to launch the amazingly gory Golden-Globe nominated zombie drama “The Walking Dead.” In other words, it’s quite the gamble.
As Deadline put it, “The deal is believed to be worth more than $100 million and could change the way people consume TV shows.” But will it actually change the way people consume TV shows in the long run, or just for now? While Netflix has certainly become a standard for watching old television (That second season of “Arrested Development” isn’t going to watch itself for the 137th time), will TV fans really be willing to trade their beloved set to huddle around the laptop?
In this case, in terms of content, perhaps the answer is yes: not only does “House of Cards” mark Fincher’s television directorial debut, it also has a fascinating premise as well. Based on Michael Dobbs’ novel of the same name, the story follows a British politician who sets their sights on the position of prime minister as Margaret Thatcher prepares to step down. The Spacey-starring adaptation will reframe “House of Cards” in a modern American setting.
Netflix’s move towards original programming is certainly a bold step. It’s reflective of similar moves from certain pay cable outlets, such as Time Warner Cable, that have been offering customers the chance to watch movies that are currently playing in theaters from their homes. In that case, not only are the purchase prices lower than most multiplex tickets, but there are none of those are-they-worth-it movie theater annoyances, like the guy chatting loudly behind you, or sitting through far too many previews and commercials.
Between those on-demand movie options and Netflix’s move towards providing new original programming, are we heading towards an era where the message is coming to the people, not vice versa? It’s certainly hard to imagine people trading in their televisions and an occasional night out at the movies (the babysitting industry, as we know it, would collapse), but could convenience and, most importantly during these trying times, cost, trump our traditional means of how we watch television and movies?
Tough questions to tackle, to be sure, so we want to hear from you: vote in our poll below and let us know what you think about Netflix’s foray into original television programming.