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.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story
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