House Of Cards

The Gotham Gal and I have been watching House Of Cards on Netflix. I haven't enjoyed a TV show so much since The Sopranos.

It all starts with Kevin Spacey. He is terrific in general and particularly in this show. But that's not the only thing we like about the show. It's about power and intrique in the nation's capital which makes for entertaining plotlines. The characters are strong, the writing is good, the direction is inspired, and the acting is great.

House of cards

The other thing that is great about the show is you can watch all thirteen episodes one after another. We got through two episodes in our first spin. We got through two more a week later. We got through three when we were in Utah and then two more last night. We've seen nine of the thirteen episodes in less than a month. We will probably finish the first season this weekend or next weekend.

This is how many of us consume TV these days, but we have to hack the system to do it this way. We have to wait for a season to be over and then watch it on demand. Netflix has taken the "hack" out of the system and just gives viewers the flexibility to watch the series when and how they want. I think that's a big improvement to the delivery model and I am loving it.

If you like quality TV entertainment and are looking for something new to watch, check out House Of Cards.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I love this show. Finished it in two marathon weekends.It’s creatively different as well as just presentation though.It started with a two-year commitment and the writing is somewhat less episodic and more chapter-oriented than traditional episodic TV, even the Sopranoes or Homeland or Mad Men. That means it weaves suspense with more subtlety than TV and more fluidity than a full-length picture. It’s a new art form.That plus stuff you mention is what nails it for me. Innovation in form and content are meshed together.

    1. fredwilson

      a new art form. yes!also, Spacey’s character dominates the way that Gandolfini’s character dominated the Sopranos. something about that approach that i love.

      1. Thomas Mullooly

        One of the few things Cablevision has done well is their HBO GO app. It has given me the opportunity to watch The Sopranos from the beginning (on the treadmill).

      2. awaldstein

        Agree–honestly, already anxious for the next ‘chapters’.

      3. Frank Fernandez

        I really like the monologs (which take the place of the psychiatrist in the Sopranos). It’s a fresh approach and you get to know exactly what the character is thinking as the action is unfolding.

        1. awaldstein

          A traditional technique in theatre that I agree has adapted well to this format.

        2. JoshGrot

          Agreed, but it seems like Spacey has fewer and fewer of these as the series progresses…

      4. LE

        (Once again I only watched a few minutes of this so far).One thing different about Gandolfini’s character though was he was relatively unknown vs. Spacey so it’s hard to separate what you know about him and the way he is (like, say, DeNiro playing a typical DeNiro character) from whatever role he is playing in “House of Cards”. Because his base mannerisms and nuances come through that you are familiar with vs. an unknown.Add: I think it’s harder in a way to be a known character in that respect because you have character baggage.

  2. sethny

    Fred – on the entertainment front I’d really suggest you grab the original BBC House of Cards from 1990. Ian Richardson’s nuanced evil is absolutely brilliant

    1. fredwilson

      i will head there once we finish the copycat version. i found the UK version of The Office much better than the US version.

      1. Adrian Bye

        completely agree!

  3. Richard

    Garbage in Garbage out

  4. Nick Grossman

    I loved the way they ended it. Some have said that it was too unsettled but I thought it was the perfect season ending cliff hanger.

    1. fredwilson

      spolier alert!!

      1. Nick Grossman

        :-)–http://nickgrossman.ison the fly

  5. William Mougayar

    Funny I was staring at a House of Cards billboard yesterday. They are all over Toronto, which speaks for the kind of marketing they are doing.Speaking of on-demand & great TV shows, does anyone watch Heartland, an amazingly well done Canadian TV show about life in the country with horses.

  6. Jorge M. Torres

    House of Cards, Season 1 finishes strong — only gets better from episodes 10-13.

  7. feargallkenny

    Good article for the NY times on binge watching impacting the social aspects of the show http://mediadecoder.blogs.n

  8. BrianScordato

    It’s made consuming the show far more individual. I loved HOC and watched it in two weeks. But now I’ve got friends at various points, and we can’t really discuss the show like we used to at work after an episode of Lost or The Sopranos, or even on twitter directly after. I’m not saying this is wrong, just different and interesting since it seems many services are bent on increasing the social-ness of any event and this goes the other way.

  9. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Comparison to The Sopranos is high praise indeed. I must check it out. I have only seen the UK original, and that was excellent, as referenced below.I so miss The Sopranos; I always record the repeats, and always watch them. Beguiling. An absolute Work of Art…

    1. Cam MacRae

      It’s not as well written as the original, but the execution is 5-star. I watched it cover to cover in 4 days. Spacey is a master craftsman; they should upgrade his CBE.

  10. Mike

    I watched the British version first. It is wonderful but resist watching it until all 26 U.S. episodes play. As I watched season 1 of the Spacey version, I could see what was going to happen. I hate to think I know how season 2 will end. To misquote Francis Underwood, “I can say that, you couldn’t possibly comment.”

  11. Barry Nolan

    Seth Godin was advocating the opposite the other day, not in terms of user experience, but in user acquisition. In other words, Netflix should drip to sync a more sustained buzz.

    1. takingpitches

      In terms of user experience, it’s like the difference in getting to your destination via connecting flights versus a direct flight.No contest!

    2. fredwilson

      i would never argue with Seth’s instincts on marketing. but as a consumer, i prefer this model

  12. Richard

    Trying to add a photo via iPhone, very buggy

  13. takingpitches

    This new Golden Age of TV (Sopranos on) was made to watch on boxed DVDs (and now the digital equivalent). Good on Netflix for not making us wait to go through the broadcast phase!

  14. Jan Schultink

    @sethgodin did not think the all-in-one-go model was smart marketing:…I think the jury is still out. Maybe selling advertising slots requires water cooler hype spread out over a couple of months, maybe selling Netflix subscriptions requires a massive boom of excitement in one go. Anyone’s guess at the moment.

    1. LIAD

      Re: smart marketing. At the end of the day giving us what we want on our terms is definitely a smarter move in the long term than giving us what we want on your terms and making us hate you for it

      1. Cam MacRae

        Well said.

    2. ShanaC

      i’m not totally sold one or or another. I like how pausing the story definitely can build buzz for tv – still, i think giving people the opportunity to deal with tv on their schedule is also good and potentially good for buzz as wellProbably the best method is somewhat in between. Longer storylines to binge on, different stopping points, seasons being released independently of each other with each season being more tightly knit

  15. Payam

    House of Cards is a hit show and I can’t wait for season 2. It will be interesting to see if $NFLX releases more specific ratings for the show. My guess is that Reed Hasting will have something to say about HOC’s impact on overall subscription revenue on their Q1 call. There are also rumors that they are already in discussions to order season 3 so all around a good sign for Netflix.

  16. Raj

    Do you remember when television shows would attention shift with “to be continued?” That’s when we were held hostage to media, but the tables have turned now.

  17. LIAD

    Spacey is ace. Him talking direct to camera. Letting you in on the intrigue makes the show for me. There is also something very alluring about his wife’s character. Sexy, driven, ruthless – a hardcore bitch.For years I have watched shows the ways Netflix finally allows you to do with house of cards. Download the season and watch them in marathon sessions at your pleasure. Nothing worse than waiting a week for the next episode in the midst of an amazing plot with an excellent cliffhanger.Shows I have devoured and enjoyed this way in the past few years:West wing (all time fav)24Prison BreakBreaking BadSons of Anarchy

    1. Andrew Brackin

      The Wire is another brilliant show if you haven’t watched it before.

  18. Ideen Solhtalab

    I and their delivery model consumed all of Season 1 in TWO DAYS. Amazing show.

  19. Jon Michael Miles

    We were up until 2am watching the last two episodes.We’ve enjoyed appointment viewing for years. The Sopranos particularly made for a great sunday night as does True Blood, Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey. We also enjoy Walking Dead, Being Human and Big Theory which we DVR and do our best to spin through commercials and network promos. HOC has added a new dimension to our viewing and we like it.For us, the underpinning of all of this is commercial free, promo graphic free experiences – more specifically uninterrupted stories. We enjoyed Lost tremendously because we watched the first three seasons on DVD over a three week period. We hated plodding through the remaining on broadcast. It ruined it for us. The last episode didn’t help.With all the talk of binge viewing and seing things when and how we want, it got me to thinking about “event viewing” – the idea that as humans we like signposts in our lives. HOC certainly has been an event. Netflix has gotten a great deal of water cooler time at our office with various cell mates exclaiming – “I’m only on episode X, don’t tell me anything!” It has created huge press for them, and I wonder if that’s helped subscriber rates, engagement, tech purchases or all three.In our case it’s all three.It started with an Apple TV as the gateway purchase which then caused a cascade of purchases and subscriptions including a new Sony surround sound with a Blue-ray, Netflix, Amazon Instant, and enough HDMI inputs for my Apple TV and cable box.All of this cascaded from a generalized desire to watch internet shows, with House of Cards being the final trigger. We still DVR tons of broadcast content but Netflix has changed the game with HOC.Like Netflix – Claire finishes particularly strong – and we want to see more.

  20. bobmonsour

    I just watched the first 2 episodes last night. Great stuff indeed! I too like that all the episodes are available at once. Just a few days ago Seth Godin wrote a post where he thinks Netflix made a mistake by not “dripping” them out.

    1. Nick Giglia

      I have a deep, abiding love for Seth Godin, but I think he’s wrong here. It’s great to participate in conversations around TV shows, and I agree that some people are hesitant to talk about specifics with House of Cards because it’s not clear who’s seen what (I haven’t seen any of it but plan to start). However, since this is the first original Netflix show, the goal likely was to get people talking about the idea of House of Cards and Netflix more than the show itself.

      1. bobmonsour

        I agree Nick. One episode as something new from Netflix would only leave people wondering…”but can they keep it up?” When I began to watch the Sopranos, after several seasons had passed, I went and bought the DVDs and watched a bunch of episodes each night just to catch up. It also made the whole series feel more intense.

      2. awaldstein

        Not certain.Love the show. Love the model…as long as it is a model.If this is a campaign (which I don’t think it is and seriously hope not) then it’s not a good one.If it’s a model change for more original content then what the economic return of this $100M is not that important. If it drives people to subscribe and they have to to watch and we rent more, I get that.If it’s a paradigm shift generally and it becomes either additive or event it makes it so this model keeps them alive, equally I’m good.To consider this a $100M branding action…wow, someone is getting bad advice IMO. Marketing and Biz Model are parts of the same fabric.

        1. Dan Kahn

          Netflix is a data driven company. My guess is that the $100 million’s primary goal is to reduce the churn rate, with signups only a secondary goal.If you have 20M subscribers at $96/year for streaming content, then each 1% reduction in churn rate is worth about $20 million in the first year (and much more if you account for the lifetime value of a customer). And it is far easier to keep those 200,000 existing customers than to convince 200,000 new members to join.I know that I have put my Netflix account on pause a few times in the past, but would be far less likely to do so if there was more content like House of Cards or new seasons of Arrested Development available…

          1. awaldstein

            Thoughtful response and no question that you are right that acquiring customers is where the big expense lies for everyone, Netflix as well.$100M plus marketing ($15+M) is a big number.I don’t think this is a reduce churn campaign. If so, that $100M needs to double and triple and they need to be HBO and create a bunch of series a year and 50% of them fail.You could be right but my bet/hope is that they are doing something more disruptive and will indeed acquire new customers not just keep the rest of us from jumping the ship.Your logic is really sound. The size the investment–Hundreds of Million a year makes me think that they are thinking bigger.

      3. andyidsinga

        i also like that the episodes are all out ..but i think he is right *if* you are the kind of person who likes to talk about the shows you watch with others.I use fred’s hack almost universally.. and i can hardly talk about anything to anyone …it exactly like this ‘portlandia spoiler alert sketch’

        1. Cam MacRae

          The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Seth’s theory, and it is merely a theory, might hold if we can locate a sufficient quantity of water cooler gossips. I don’t know any personally, and like most in my circle I take my cues from the drone [not crescendo!] of online commentary.I can’t abide serialised books and likewise avoid TV in episodic instalments, so instead I’ll wait and ‘acquire’ the entire series. Netflix has simply said “Why wait?!”. Bravo Netflix.

          1. andyidsinga

            i applaud Netflix for making the series too. you anti-serial weenies are messing it all up – you should listen to The Dude and abide! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

          2. Cam MacRae


          3. Donna Brewington White

            I agree. Okay, it worked for LOTR — that’s one exception. But somehow I didn’t know The Hobbit was serialized and was not happy at the end!

      4. Obi Offorjindu

        It really does. And so many people choose to record shows on a DVR so they can watch when and how it suits them. So this fits with giving the consumer what they want. Netflix are on to a winner and good luck to them

      5. LE

        “abiding love for Seth Godin, but I think he’s wrong here”Seth backs up the point he is making very clearly with behavioral issues and in the end thinking that way wins the argument for me. People’s behavior tends to remain consistent at the core. [1]Behaviorally (once again) I’m noting that you (Nick) describe yourself as “nerd” and the “about” on your website (which I took the time to google for) seems to back that up. My brain otoh works on a much more touchy feely level so I immediately recognize the point that Seth is trying to make. And I think more importantly that his statement is correct with respect to the mass of people watching TV [3] (This is not an attack on you but I’m simply pointing out that you may be blind by the way your mind works to some of the points that Seth is making so you put less importance on them.) I would use different techniques to make a sale with you (knowing that) than I would with an artist.That said it doesn’t mean that people’s behavior won’t change or there won’t be some other change that causes Netflix to have called it correctly here.[1] In trying to help someone with a negotiation yesterday I recommended they use the “my wife won’t let me” angle for a point knowing that the seller was, for lack of a better way to put it, “hen pecked” [2] by his wife and that an argument like that would resonate.[2] Or the other word that normally describes this is what comes to mind.[3] Same as politicians use certain bullshit that works with the masses that fall completely flat with rational educated people.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      We are not the same society that serialized television was first created for. We’ve been trained for this to a degree but once the option of making your own decision of how to consume entertainment is experienced, it is hard to go back to the meted out version. I actually find myself feeling resentful if I can’t have the option of several episodes at once whether or not I actually watch in multiple.Edit: Somehow pushed post too soon so had to edit.

  21. gregorylent

    exactly why i love pirate dvd’s in shanghai .. watch straight through, no commercials, at the right price. ..

  22. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Everytime I watch this show I keep thinking how much of a big deal this is for TV. Netflix has really stepped up their game and to produce this type of quality original content is a game changer in my opinion.

  23. Ben Popper

    Took me and my wife 3 days to polish off 13 episodes. The only problem with binge watching is the hangover when you’ve suddenly finished the entire series and the weekend still isn’t over,

    1. fredwilson

      like the hangover Francis had at the Citadel (Sentinel)?

    2. Drew Meyers

      The last show I had a hangover over was Californication, and before that 24. I haven’t watched House of Cards yet…but I will. Been hearing great things from multiple people.

    3. ShanaC


      1. Adell Murphy

        Did u mean to write something more ? Was there a disqus problem ?

      2. andyidsinga

        hi shana …not sure why comment got stuck in ‘waiting for moderation’…

        1. ShanaC

          things have been strange. there was a code push to resolve issues this week. (and I’ve been a bit busy today, purim…took bf home to meet parents…glad I don’t have to repeat that experience)

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Hmmm… email?

  24. Sharon Chang

    Love the show. And here is my own disturbing consumption pattern: watched 12 episodes non-stop, then took a whole week to finish the last one (10 min every night before I went to bed) because I didn’t want it to end…

    1. fredwilson

      i have a friend who has never finished a TV show he and his wife love because his wife won’t let them end!

      1. LE

        There are books and movies that are like that. The ones that are so good you just don’t want them to end.- didn’t like it- it was ok- it was good- it was really good- it was excellent- truly sad I didn’t want it to endWhich is interesting because with vacations that I like I normally can’t wait to get back home after a week or two. And even with the best meal you reach a satiation point where you don’t want any more food.

      2. panterosa,

        I felt that way about reading George Kennan years ago. And about The Art of Strategy by Sun Tsu.I also made sure I never saw the David so I always have a reason to go back to Florence.

    2. ShanaC

      i slow binge through tv on netflix that way (currently – the west wing)

  25. Nick Tomaino

    Who is the “Frank and Claire Underwood” of NYC tech? You and Gotham Gal would have to be frontrunners.

    1. fredwilson

      we don’t smoke or have affairs

  26. jonwerbell

    Have you seen the Wire? Its amazing. If you have not watched – you’re lucky to have five great seasons ahead of you. Its an education on municipal politics (but hopefully not New York).And if my wife and I watch TV, we prefer the Netflix model (go through a full season of shows all at once – much more enjoyable). Rather pay for the convenience than waiting week after week and watching commercials.

    1. fredwilson

      i have not. we will. after we get through the UK version of House of Cards

      1. vruz

        The Wire: best television ever.

      2. markslater

        Ok – my product director brought in a box set with all five seasons…..insisted i find time to watch it – the wife and i are half way through season 2 – its absolutely brilliant……….wait till you meet OMAAAAAH!!

        1. takingpitches

          what a character Omar is:”But, the game’s out there, and it’s play or get played. That simple. ”

      3. scottythebody

        Mos def watch The Wire. It stays superlative for 3 or 4 seasons and only slightly goes down hill. Great characters. Amazing, natural dialog — I loved the fact that scenes play out and hinge upon one characters facial reactions to another. There is almost no exposition. Everything is there for the viewer, but nothing is dictated. Really cool TV.Also, as an aside, living in an international community, people watch TV series “by the series” here exclusively since none are broadcast and, as you point out, broadcast model is really old school.

    2. takingpitches

      +1000. Wire had it all – cops, drug dealers, unions, the press, city politics, the judicial system and the widespread corruption and rare elements of honor in each…in the backdrop was the economic reality as noted by one character:”We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket.”Another show – less appreciated – that took on similar themes in the context of the Wild West – with Shakespearean but profane dialogue — was Deadwood. Worth watching too.

      1. mtnpaul

        You forgot schools. Best show ever!

    3. aleksj

      The only TV show worth watching.

    4. Anne Libby

      I cut the cord a few years ago, and this has been how I’ve consumed most TV since 2009 (?) The Wire, awesome. Deadwood was also fantastic. When the series is strong, I feel like you really get a better view of what the creators intended.(Not to mention Battlestar Galactica:

      1. ShanaC

        great choice, that battlestar galactica πŸ™‚

        1. Anne Libby

          I might have to watch it again.

    5. Dave Pinsen

      I loved what someone tweeted about The Wire creator David Simon’s subsequent HBO series, Treme (set in post-Katrina New Orleans):”I hope Treme is as important as it is boring”

      1. takingpitches

        haha — plot line aside, the music is great though.

    6. Wavelengths

      It first caught my attention when a radio personality said his wife had gotten him hooked on it. He recommended that it be watched through all five seasons without interruption. I took the recommendation to heart.Yes, it’s an awesome education in big-city power centers, all the way from the street corner to the corner office.The cast is terrific. (As a note for fans, the actor who played Proposition Joe died in the last few weeks.)

  27. jason wright

    how does netflix work the ad space in this new ‘scheduling’ dynamic?

    1. Montgomery Kosma

      To date, they don’t. Ad revenue = $0.00.Presumably Netflix has made the judgment to date that the risk of driving away customers would cost more than the ad revenues they’d generate. But I believe there may be a way for Netflix to start generating material ad revenues, based on one key insight: people don’t mind advertising that feels like content. Think about how many people sought out, watched, and forwarded to friends the ad reel for Dollar Shave Club, or how many got on YouTube to seek out the Super Bowl ads they missed.I could see Netflix adding substantial new revenue streams from advertising without driving away customers. They have to do so in a way that customers believe ENHANCES the overall Netflix experience. That means you have to build an approach to advertising that is highly curated.Curation (my formulation) has three elements: selection, organization, and presentation. Selection means you have to pick ads that feel like content. While there’s various types of high-content ads (Super Bowl commercials come to mind), the best fit with the expected customer experience on Netflix would be movie trailers. Organization, in this context, means make the trailers shown relevant to the user’s state of mind, e.g., don’t show horror trailers before a comedy program. Presentation means show them in a way that fits preexisting user expectations — riffing off the theatrical experience, show one or two trailers as a preroll after the lights dim, and never interrupt programs once they begin.One other important caveat: repetition destroys the illusion that an ad is content. Movie trailers don’t really stand up to repeated viewing and get annoying before too long. Screw this up and people will start reaching for the skip (or unsubscribe) button. Not too hard to manage as long as you have decent variety in your ad inventory and are willing to stop screening ads before you reach the saturation point.monty

  28. LE

    “This is how many of us consume TV these days”My wife and I do the same thing if we can with the episodes. (My mistress and I though, well, we are to busy having sex to watch any TV.)I’m going to take another look at “House of Cards”. I watched the first few minutes of it (I do the pre-screeing generally) and stopped watching after the dog scene because it seemed almost broadcast network like in it’s simplicity. I made a snap judgement but I will now take another look. I like Kevin Spacey so I must have had a pretty strong reaction to drop it that quickly.

  29. JimHirshfield

    Positive consequences of releasing in this consumer friendly way is more buzz. Not only are people talking about what a great show it is, they’re praising the consumption / delivery method. That’s lighter fluid marketing.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, that is the piece that Seth misses in his analysis

      1. LE

        I’m in Seth’s camp firmly here. It’s about foreplay, discussion, and anticipation.When taking a trip at a young age I noticed that there was the happiness anticipated with the planning and weeks leading up to the event that provided pleasure. [1] That would all be lost if it was announced “we’re leaving in an hour to go to Florida”.In direct contrast though, if you are told by the doctor you need an operation it’s best to go right in, to not delay. That way you avoid the anxiety that builds during the weeks leading up to the surgery..[1] At an older age it doesn’t work that way of course. All that I do is have to spend time to prepare to not be around which creates anxiety surrounding all the little details that have to be attended to.

    2. awaldstein

      This is brilliant and lots of chutzpah and works for well…everyone. Huge fan here.But whether this is a $100M campaign or a change in their model will determine whether its smart marketing or not.Smart is where it hits the balance sheet and smart for most companies is where model and marketing are the same.

    3. Aaron Klein

      I wonder if they couldn’t have their cake and eat it too.I’d have posted the list of episodes with release dates and two choices. “Watch on the official dates and share the action with your friends…or click here to unlock all episodes now. (PS: don’t be a spoiler for your friends!)”

      1. JimHirshfield

        I suppose friends can self-organize a coincident experience under the current structure; don’t need (arbitrary) release dates.

    4. LE

      “they’re praising the consumption / delivery method.”Disagree there Jim. The “masses” are not talking nor do they care about all of this.The masses might talk if there was enough hype surrounding this by traditional media and get sucked in (like the first iphone release or Windows 95) but in no way does this rise anywhere near that level of excitement or discussion among large groups of people.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Perhaps I over-stated the mass market enthusiasm…actually, I take that back…I never said anything about the masses. Point is, there’s an added level of goodwill, upside, or whatever additive juice one would like to call it, on top of the quality of the programming at play here. Some of the “buzz” is inside baseball and some of it is just people voting with a click to watch the next episode immediately. Those clicks reflect an enthusiasm for the new consumption method, IMHO.

        1. LE

          “Perhaps I over-stated the mass market enthusiasm…”[No further questions your honor, your witness.]”actually, I take that back…”I said no further questions.Anyway:”Those clicks reflect an enthusiasm for the new consumption method, IMHO.”I have no problem with the concept that there is enthusiasm for this method of consumption or even that the “masses” might vote for this.The question is is that the best way for an entertainment venue to make money? (Which is Seth’s point I believe that I agree with.) People would like to skip commercials and they would love most likely (with exception of Super Bowl or when they need to take a piss) if there were no commercials at all. But that doesn’t mean it’s a viable business model. People sign up and pay for showtime for example to get Dexter but they have to pay for that over the 3 or 4 mos. that the series runs. Would they like to pay for 1 week and DVR the entire series? Sure they would. But that won’t pay the bills.People would love to be able to do many things but that doesn’t mean it makes sense from as a business model.Now otoh if netflix can continue to deliver multiple “House of Cards” type shows and keep the pipeline filled that’s one thing. But creativity of that level is very hard to keep up on a regular basis you simply don’t come up with that many hits on a repeated basis look at any creative venture.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Long-term business model? Who knows. But as a way to get us hooked on the drug? That I think is valid marketing effort, in the same way that broadcast TV launches a new show with a 2 hour episode, then reverts to shorter episodes.Without ads, and with a flat fee from consumers, what’s the diff whether we watch all episodes over 3 weeks or 13 weeks? I’m hooked and await next season…and I won’t cancel my Netflix subscription.They just need to provide enough juice to keep me subscribed. I don’t need a dozen shows of this caliber – tho it’d be nice.

  30. ShanaC

    My boyfriend and I just started watching it. Worth the hype. Also incredibly smart in that they are letting us schedule it our way. (sometimes bingefest, sometimes episode by episode)I just wish the networks thought about how to do these releases this way as well as by broadcast. I understand that broadcast is a very different animal, where airwaves can only carry one piece of tv at a time. Still, the fact that they lean so heavily on airwaves as the decisions for storytelling rather than other methods drives me crazy :/

  31. LE

    Watched http://www.rottentomatoes.c… “Compliance” on Netflix the other night. Pretty disturbing – based on true events.This is more or less the basis of hacking’s “social engineering” exploits and it’s amazing how easy it is to pull things like this off if you are skilled at these techniques.The bottom line is most people (and this is independent of intelligence) never ask questions and assume legitimacy that doesn’t exist. I’ll never forget my first day cold calling in a business I started which I knew absolutely nothing about at all when I was handed an order by a successful businessman who said “here you’re the expert” when I was open for literally one day and had never produced a single sheet of printing. I said I did printing and he simply believed me. I’ve done many things like this I sold a business and collected a commission, I got a physician to sign a contract allowing me to find him an employee and to pay me $35,000 if I did as only two examples.I want to point out that in the above examples I didn’t lie. I was never asked at all what my qualifications were and I never overstated my qualifications. So I can only imagine what could be done if you lie and claim that you are someone you are not.

  32. kenberger

    another great thing w/ netflix is the mutli-device support, and how how it syncs across your devices to the place you left off.if you can find means to collect all the shows’ files (there are ways, out there), a great way to watch is via the Plex app with Google TV. You run the Plex server on the computer containing all the files. Then with a GTV like Vizio Co-star, you run the Plex app and watch. Plex is also multi-device, so you can also watch from your laptop or phone when on the go, in your 2nd house, etc. Great app.I’m doing this from central Mexico now, where i’m working from this week.

    1. takingpitches

      Werner, you guys are killing it with Prime streaming!My wife loves Downton Abbey.i hope some of the series you all have in development get green lit, because clearly the original content is a big part of playing in this game. Alpha House and Zombieland seem particularly interesting!

    2. kidmercury

      aww yeah, werner vogels in da house!!!! i am the self-proclaimed biggest amzn fanboy. bummed you guys didnt hire me when i applied the first time. or the 50th. it’s okay though. i’m still a prime subscriber.

      1. fredwilson

        and he’s pimping amazon prime. i love it. as JLM would say “well played”. respect.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I love when these things happen at AVC! Cameo appearances.

      2. takingpitches

        Haha. Bull.Amazon needs the Kid.Bezos needs to put you in charge of Amzn currency and it will really disrupt some ish!

        1. kidmercury

          honestly that would be my dream job. i seriously thought about moving to seattle and picketing outside amzn headquarters until they hired me. part of me still thinks i should have done that.

          1. AgeOfSophizm

            Do it! Maybe kick starter campaign to fund your job search? Don’t know what you’d sell though…maybe kid mercury silver rounds haha

    3. William Mougayar

      Love it. A CTO marketer!

      1. awaldstein

        Saw your share on this and read the piece. Interesting piece but true structurally at big companies more than DNA at most.Big believer in data. Big believer that marketing can never be run by the numbers alone.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Just saved for later. Looks very interesting.Slow down. I can’t keep up with how fast you are cranking out the posts.

          2. William Mougayar

            Ha!I was waiting for you to react to Heartland.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            Haven’t read it yet. How did you know I am a Heartland fan? If Werner is listening I wish they’d stream this!

          4. William Mougayar

            I remembered you mentioned it here a few months ago πŸ™‚

    4. RichardF

      yup, the BBC the best producer of quality viewing in the world.

      1. Ciaran

        Funded by what is, in effect, a tax. Ironic really considering the source of this partiular stream of this conversation

      2. Donna Brewington White

        One of my top favorite brands. We don’t have broadcast television so a lot of DVDs when my kids were younger and now streaming — but my kids grew up on BBC. One of my sons actually spoke with a slight British accent for a while. Really!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          “don’t have broadcast television” by choice — except we do cheat and watch things like SuperBowl and Oscars at a friend/neighbor’s who literally has a television in every single room including bathrooms.

        2. RichardF

          one of mine too Donna, missed Friday’s post otherwise it would have been on my list!Nice to know your kids are having a great education πŸ˜‰

    5. Craig Nicholson

      Just finished Star Trek Original – All 3 seasons on AMZ Prime.

    6. JamesHRH

      CDNs are lucky – we have had a pipeline into the BBC for 50 years – Corrie, Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, Faulty Towers on CBC, the original Who’s Line was on cable here…….lucky!However, It is the distribution model that matters. If the content is not good, it does not matter what shelf it is on.We will see if Netflix can continue to bring the hits. and it they do, will they get to a point where they force HBO & the like into co-opetition with them?Love your blog title, BTW.

    7. Donna Brewington White

      Fred did a post the other day asking for favorite brands. I never listed mine but Amazon and BBC are at the top. So, I’m all over this!Thanks so much for the suggestion and for showing up here in the comments. A real treat.BTW @kidmercury:disqus is a wiz kid and an Amazon evangelist.

    8. ShanaC

      thanks werner πŸ™‚

    9. Wavelengths

      After I watched the original BBC version, I annoyed everyone I knew by recommending it.For people who have never bumped into a diagnosable psychopath, this series is a lesson in personalities who are liars and who choose to do damage, without remorse.

  33. John Revay

    Fred – did not take you as a TV watcher – ( I figured mostly sports), but I guess perhaps not a traditional TV watcher…and by watching as you laid out in this post you are not a traditional TV watcher.We discoed our Netfix account last month and went to Amazon Prime – maybe I will true it back on and watch HoC.I am a big fan of Kevin Spacey, reminds me oddly of Gene Hackman for some reason…

    1. awaldstein

      Both great character actors…good comparison.

    2. LE

      I’ve always noticed that most actors that guys like always have the same qualities. They are the type that you would like to hang out with and seem like fun. They aren’t intimidating either and not overpowering. While some have sex appeal to women most don’t. I’m not talking about leading men but those in supporting roles mostly.What I’ve also noticed is that some of these guys actually gross out women. For example Larry David’s manager on “Curb” I’ve gotten negative comments from two women on Jeff Garlin as well as some of the guys appearing in the classic “super fans” SNL skit “da bears”.I feel Jeff’s pain:

  34. Yalim K. Gerger

    Just like the story telling in HBO series is way different (and better) than on series on regular TV because of the lack of commercials, Netflix’s approach should also effect story telling positively. A 13-episode series you publish all at once should have a very different (and better) flow than a show, totally architected for commercial breaks.

  35. William Mougayar

    Releasing the 13 episodes at once was a deliberate strategy by Netflix to feed the binge viewers. It was a clever move. Did you see the tweet they sent:”Don’t forget to shower, eat something, stretch! #WatchResponsibly”…

    1. fredwilson


  36. Aviah Laor

    The not avail in your country department. I really have to ask: It’s a Netflix produced show, their **own** show. Nothing with the studios. Why the Intl. ban? or forever waiting again? They can, and should, provide Intl. access for their own new content which is not subjected to never-ending copy rights issues.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      I think it would be really cool if the US Enterprise put people on ships on every ocean and told them to sail in straight lines to find land – Despite the risk of sailing off the edge – I believe they might find new territories !Some may call this radical heresy but rumour has it that Techstars believes in a place called LOn_DON or some such improbable sounding place in the “Lands to the East.” Some of the inhabitants are said to have a command of languages and can communicate with Americans in their native language with only a modicum of discomfort.

  37. matthughes

    Spoiler alert…I had to turn House of Cards off after the first couple minutes of episode 1.Our dog died recently and I could not bare the opening scene of the dog being hit by a car.Hopefully I can get past that and watch the series because it sounds terrific.I couldn’t agree more that watching “TV series” when and how you want is the only way to go.

    1. LE

      I stopped watching at that point as well. Not for the same reason you did but I felt it was trying to hard to make a statement as far as the character qualities of the protagonist. Like “just to be clear this guy is heartless”. I prefer things that are more subtle than that and you have to try hard to figure out. That said I will give it another try. That scene was complete with sound as well that was pretty shocking. (I’m not sure if you got to the point a few minutes later but if you continue watching you will see what I mean).This relates to the concept of “exposition” in film (I believe):…A more subtle example of this would be Tony Soprano meeting with Dr. Melfi to show his vulnerabilities. I guess my point is that the placement of that is important. I don’t think in the Sopranos it would have made sense for us to see Tony with Dr. Melfi in scene 1 act one.

  38. Laurent Courtines

    Liked the show…. from a business perspective… it just feels like a show that has run and is now on Netflix. The fact that it is a Netflix exclusive… doesn’t appear to make me want to sign up for Netflix. Now, as a retention ploy? Yes! Netflix needs to control its own destiny and funding shows is one way to do this. Good idea.I have one quibble with the show itself -FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP TALKING TO THE CAMERA! That is all.

  39. Perry Obsternoffan

    I love the series, sadly it’s more of a documentary on how DC works, and a mild one at that.It was good enough that I now have to wait forever to get the next installment, binge watching has it’s downside as well …

  40. Ricardo Diz

    I don’t watch TV very often, but these days I’m pretty much addicted to season two of Scandal (….

  41. David Petersen

    The forced delayed gratification of watching TV shows on Sunday nights gives me something to look forward to throughout the week.But I have a feeling that if I was used to the free-for-all model, the Sunday night model would make me furious.I always figured this was a show about poker players though, so I didn’t have much interest. Just Googled it, and the political intrigue sounds more appealing to me. If Netflix puts out one more winner, they have my money πŸ™‚

  42. Itzik Ben-Bassat

    It will be interesting to discuss how the collapse of the linear model is going to impact production cost and investment. If NBC needs to make 13 episodes as a minimum to entry it either puts more impact on the importance of pilots, generates a different selection process or reduces the number of bets a network can make.

  43. Nicholas Hall

    Fred, couldn’t agree with you more – Spacey is excellent, but also the show is both written and certainly SHOT so well, all the close ups entering rooms and action-focus, it makes the Hill look like (probably accurately) a full-contact sport.The more interesting part of your post is about distribution, and specifically new distribution strategies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other think through release timing and how they “launch” shows. The idea of a show’s pilot may be dead, but I think that there’s a much larger appetite for a season, or part of a season to tease into a sequential serialization for shows after “House of Cards”. I believe there’s a strong argument that it creates more passionate, involved audiences when high-value content is available on an as-needed basis.All of this belies the fact that Netflix, and Reed Hastings, for all of their pricing/consumer stumbles of the past few years are doing a phenomenal job of opening new revenue paths in ways that most never anticipated.

  44. vruz

    Fred, you may have noticed that Seth Godin seems to disagree with you on this.…For the record, I think both are kind of right, I believe it’s possible to break free from the tyranny of seasonal schedules without losing the ad-hoc communities that form around cultural products such as this.For example, my favourite is the halo effect around HBO’s The Wire; makes it one of the best TV experiences ever. (btw GetGlue could benefit from this type of hole Netflix are not plugging, if only they could develop their brand better…)Maybe NetFlix are just doing what’s to be expected from NetFlix, and can develop the rest later.

  45. Ciaran

    The amazing thing about the original, that’s hard to recreate the feeling of, is that thi show, about a Conservative prime minister being kicked out of power, was first broadcast the week Margaret Thatcher was thrown to the wolves. An epic coincidence that have this show even more relevance

  46. Tom Labus

    Let the Academy Awards ceremony in on this!

    1. William Mougayar

      Don’t get me started on Ben Affleck… If he wins for Argo, I’m going to throw-up. Despicable how he twisted the reality of a story where 90% of the work was done by the Canadians into a movie where it looks like the CIA did 90% of the work. Despite it being “just a movie”, it’s a grossly distorted one.

  47. SD

    This is ultimately just going to be an inversion of the traditional “windows”. Just as Louis CK sold his standup special direct to consumer first, then licensed it to HBO – Netflix (or whoever owns the back-end rights) will license this, or other shows to traditional TV for episodic viewing. I would not be surprised to see one of the basic cable networks (or someone like IFC or Starz/Encore) license the show.

  48. sotek

    Great show indeed. I finished watching the entire season in two days. Kevin Spacey… DAMN!

  49. peteski

    timely, we’re on ep. 7 (watched 6! yesterday)

  50. JoshGrot

    Really love the show…and like many people on this thread, I binge-watched it over one week…Kevin Spacey is fantastic…the “Warren Buffet”-like character seems to be the first to truly challenge Spacey’s center of balance and gamesmanship (hope there’s more of him in Season 2)…Robin Wright is appropriately steely cold, but her character shows signs of opening up and becoming three dimensional…Kate Mara’s scheming character is intriguing and introduces very interesting character arcs, but the entire Capital J journalism approach is a bit unbelievable: I’d like to believe that this sort of muck-raking goes on today, but…and and the first person narration, though under-utilized in later episodes, gives an almsot Shakespearean quality to the series (though I can’t tell if Spacey’s character is Iago, Richard III, or Macbeth).Still not fully sure I agree with releasing all 13 episodes at once, as I would have thought that Netflix would want to leverage this as a means of retaining subscribers as much as gaining new ones (and retention isn’t at all aided by releasing all of them at once).Some very interesting articles recently about how Netflix might be in the catbird seat vis other video distributors in re: being able to use its streaming data to gauge acceptance and marketability. This may give them a leg up over HBO, Showtime, Starz et. al.Would love to know what the “premium” was that Netflix had to pay to get A-listers like Spacey and Fincher to sign on to this “experiment”? Anyone have any info. on this?

  51. Austin Clements

    The show is excellent. In the past I haven’t been a binge viewer but House of Cards has gotten me to sit through two or three episodes at a time. All of the characters are well developed and Spacey is such a great actor he still is a standout.I’m totally in favor of the decision to release all at once. sure it wont get the same amount of social media buzz as scheduled releases, but it is clearly what audiences want. Associating the “full season release” with the Netflix service is priceless for them (or worth at least $100mm).But if everyone watches all 13 episodes in a week or two, Netflix challenge new becomes producing enough quality shows to keep up with subscriber expectation for new content. No telling how well they’ll manage that, but by having the audiences take the lead at least they are on the right side of the future.

  52. Donna Brewington White

    I am mourning the completion of Foyle’s War and the ruination of Downton Abbey so welcome this suggestion!But will start with the UK version. So glad I did that with The Office.Re Foyle’s War, I took a long time to start watching it because it just didn’t seem interesting and I’m not much of a murder mystery fan, but it was recommended by two very picky actor friends and so I tried it and was quickly hooked. Wonderfully well done in every way. Superb cast.

  53. Ken G

    Yes Fred, HoC is one of the best for me as well. Consuming it as I wanted….treadmill in the AM, evening, etc. really piques my interested in this hack-free no-waiting model. Thanks for sharing!

  54. Mt.Gox - Alex

    Love the show too. But above all what I like here is that such quality show is not coming from the TV World and I hope we will see more and more of these Show on Netflix and Hulu.

  55. markslater

    blow up the tv ad model i say. i dont watch live tv at all anymore. (if i am honest its largely due to the little ones) – but abso dont miss it. the wife and i do mutli-episode bonanzas like you describe – much more fun…..i find myself hunting for content on my DVR not the live guide.

  56. Milind Sanghavi

    The original House of Cards is wayyyyyy better. IMO.

  57. Elie Seidman

    I also loved being able to consume the episodes that way – my wife and I finished it a few days ago. But I do tend to agree with Seth that it’s bad for building buzz.

    1. Anne Libby

      I saw a conversation thread somewhere (maybe my FB friends), people talking about discovering Firefly, which didn’t even last a whole season.Joss Whedon fans are among the most dedicated. Firefly takes some attention, and it died when the network moved it around. (Before wide DVR adoption.) If this form had been around, this show might have found legs.I think that this form is good news for the more thoughtful, well-constructed work that doesn’t build buzz fast enough to get traction. (And it requires up front commitment by the “network”, which I imagine creates its own traction.)

  58. David Tindell

    On “hacking the system,” I watched the entire season in three days :/ I guess I need more hobbies. Awesome show though! “Everything in life is about sex, except sex” I will be sharing a couple of quotes no doubt.