It’s difficult to predict if online streaming will ever replace traditional cable or satellite television. At best, even the newest content available online is still yesterday’s TV and movies. Services like Hulu Plus offer some shows the next day, but others might not appear for more than a week. It’s a sizeable disadvantage when competing with live television. But Netflix is trying to beat the middle-man who supplies content by jumping in and creating its own.
House of Cards
In its first move to compete with cable, Netflix outbid networks like HBO and AMC for the political drama series “House of Cards,” staring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara. According to Huffington Post, Netflix gambled $100 million of its money for the exclusive rights to 26 episodes, or two seasons, of the 50-minute show. They also released the show unlike any that’s been aired on cable. Beginning February 1, Netflix released all 13 episodes of the first season at once. That means, if you wanted, you could watch the entire season marathon-style or spread them out at your own pace.
So did the gamble pay off? Netflix hasn’t released any hard data, but according to the Telegraph, “House of Cards” is the most watched show on Netflix, especially during the “binge watching” time when it first released.
The cult comedy starring Jason Bateman and Michael Cera just couldn’t find a home on Fox. Even after three seasons, the network decided to cancel the show against the wishes of its most beloved fans.
But following the success of “House of Cards,” Netflix will revive the show and create an exclusive fourth season to be released in May, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The new season will bring back the entire cast from the original show and also new stars like Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogan. The announcement of the show was already big news when it broke in 2012, but that now that Netflix has established itself as a legitimate contender in content creation, the anticipation of “Arrested Development” is at an all time high.
Dreamworks and ‘Turbo’
Dreamworks Animation will be partnering with Netflix to create an original children’s series called “Turbo F.A.S.T.,” which will be based on the Dreamworks summer movie, “Turbo.” The movie is slated to hit theaters in June and the series will launch in Netflix in December, according to PC Magazine.
Original children’s content on streaming services is still a new frontier that hopes to close in on, especially since Dreamworks will air it’s movies exclusively to the service after theaters over networks like HBO.
According to Huffington Post, Netflix spends $2.5 billion on licensing rights each year. It’s closest competitor, Amazon, spends less than half at $1 billion. Netflix’s commitment to spending serious capital on its content shows the company is not joking around. It doesn’t want to be the best online service, it want to be the best viewing experience in any medium.