Unveiled at MIPCOM 2013, Netflix’s biggest series ever — starring Kevin Spacey (photo) and directed by David Fincher – was without a doubt the main TV event of early 2013. But is House of Cards really TV? Netflix made the bold move of releasing all 13 episodes at once, disrupting scheduling tradition and challenging the piracy temptation. But was it a success? Whilst Netflix claimed the political drama was its most-streamed TV show ever, it declined to release any figures. The onus was left with social TV to compile the data, expertly gathered by Lost Remote here, for example:

Networked Insights provided an interesting analysis point. House of Cards “premiered around nearly 30k conversations, which is no The Walking Dead (with over 900K conversations when it returned Sunday night), but is on par with the weekly performances that ABC’s Scandal receives,” explained the company’s Sean Reckwerdt.


In short, the show may not have beaten ‘traditional’ TV programmes, but compared admirably with them. Enough, at least, for a second series to be confirmed. Leading The New Yorker to wonder whether House of Cards means the beginning of the end for cable TV: “Over the years, as cable’s prices have increased, each part of that value proposition has withered. In an age of too much information, offering more channels has come to feel like more of a bug than a feature… this year or next, cable companies will have to accept that they are no longer the gatekeepers for the best content.”

As if to prove to what extent it means business, Netflix went on to confirm that it’s not stopping at House of Cards. Turbo: F.A.S.T., a kids’ series based on the forthcoming eponymous film from Dreamworks, will see the streaming platform step into children’s programming for the first time this year, reported paidcontent.

Not forgetting the “traditional” TV business, which is booming right now, if the BBC is anything to go by. The UK institution is banking on its very British-ness to make its mark abroad in drama terms, the BBC’s controller of drama commissioning – and MIPTV 2013 keynote – Ben Stephenson told The Guardian this month. “It’s exporting what we are, the Danny Boyle philosophy of ‘Britain exporting what we are to the world and the world will come’, rather than pretending, dressing up in the clothes of Hollywood,” said Stephenson, stressing that this view was shared by Lord Hall, the BBC’s incoming director general. As such, dramas like Wolf Hall and The White Queen will be used to “make the corporation an international cultural beacon for the UK”, as The Guardian put it.

Further proof of the UK’s booming drama sector came as The Independent reported thatScreen Yorkshire, which was set up to act as a hub for film companies eager to take advantage of the region’s stunning backdrops and pioneering storytellers, has announced a new £2m/€2.3m investment package and revealed its biggest production slate in a decade.” Downton Abbey should as such be just the first in a long line of grand new British series…

At the same time, a barrage of recent announcements confirmed that the world’s biggest tech companies very much see TV as their new Eldorado. Google’s YouTube stepped firmly into UK homes through a deal with Freesat, free satellite TV boxes that are backed by the BBC and ITV (Paid Content); Twitter took the equally significant step of acquiring social TV analysts Bluefin Labs, “to develop its TV analytics and advertising business”, as TheNextWeb reported; Intel’s Erik Huggers (formerly of the BBC) told All Things Digital’s Dive into Media conference that the chipmaker would launch its own TV service this year (GigaOM); and at the same event, Microsoft said it plans to launch its “own interactive TV shows before the end of the year” (GigaOM) via Xbox Live, its console-based network. Which has 46 million subscribers, no less…

Not one to be outdone, TV network Comedy Central announced it had set up its own studio for digital content. “Already in production are Couched, a spin-off from the Comedy Central programme The Ben Show; and Bro-Dependent, about two best friends from the famous Groundlings comedy troupe, which counts Will Ferrell among its alumni”, reported C21.

With producer All3Media telling MIPBlog about how it’s similarly producing YouTube-only content right now, could this be another TV tipping point? Time will tell…


All of the above links come from our scoop.it online magazines, which gather TV industry news from the world over:

– TV Future focuses on cutting-edge phenomena such as 2screen TV and transmedia

– TV Trends caters to wider industry issues such as production, formats and branded entertainment.

Be sure to check them out year-round!

About Author

As Head of Social Media for Reed MIDEM, James Martin oversees social strategy and deployment for B2B events MIPTV and MIPCOM, Midem (music industry) and MIPIM & MAPIC (real estate & retail). He is based in Reed MIDEM's Paris office.

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  1. Pingback: TV Trends Web Review: Does House of Cards spell cable’s doom? MIPBlog « Transmedia Camp 101

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