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Source: Netflix – D.R.

Exceptional week for the American media. After the hacking of the Jimmy Kimmel Show by Matt Damon, here comes the Super Bowl final which should attract more than 110 million viewers on Sunday and panic the social networks, but especially the launch of the series never seen before on TV : “House of Cards” not by one of the major American networks, but by Netflix, the SVOD service which is gradually being transformed into a Pay TV service.

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Source: Youtube, Jimmy Kimmel Show Channel – D.R.

For Netflix, this launch is decisive on 4 levels :

  • financially, first. Because the series cost him the measly $100 million to produce. And even if the sales of the TV rights internationally prove successful, the amortization of the series on American subscribers could prove more perilous. Especially since Netflix will offer other series on this model throughout 2013. It is therefore essential that this launch results in a financial result that is not too catastrophic. Nevertheless, Netflix has measured its risk: the only increase in the subscriber portfolio could compensate for this investment. Just over a million new subscribers would be needed over the year to absorb the cost of producing the series.
  • commercially,next. By deciding to break the traditional mode of broadcasting TV series of one episode per week, Reed Hastings is taking a huge risk. How many of the 27 million Netlfix subscribers will watch the 13 48-minute episodes in one sitting? Either 10 hours riveted in front of his TV, computer or tablet screen? Especially since on Sunday, all of America will be glued to the Super Bowl. And we know that the success of the launch will have an impact on final sales. What makes Netflix strong is that by launching the series in this mode, it combines all the modes of operation from the first day of operation: exclusivity, catch up, catalogue. It is therefore a profound change in consumer habits that Reed Hastings is seeking to impose on the American market.
  • strategically,of course. Netflix is getting rid of its old-fashioned image of a DVD rental company by the post office. Netlfix is now positioned as a credible alternative to the major cable networks such as HBO or Showtime. The 13-episode marathon launched on February 1 should provide some answers: yes or no, will Americans, who are increasingly connected and want to consume their programs even more freely, when and where they want, arbitrate between Netflix and a cable offer? Or simply play the complementarity of services? Will this first one lead the studios to review their way of exploiting TV series? Responses are unlikely to be forthcoming this year due to production and airing delays for the new series.
  • editorially, finally. As the series was written specifically for Netflix and to be released online in one go, the episodes do not include those long flashbacks of previous episodes, which have become a real trademark of the series of the 2000s. Each episode picks up where it left off the previous time. And icing on the cake, no advertising interrupts the various paintings. Here again, Netflix breaks the codes of television, it just needs a few million more Americans to buy into the concept. But it is above all the popular success of the series that will give credibility or not to the arrival on the market of TV series production and exclusive broadcasting rights.

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An adaptation of a BBC series

Now that the series is online, everyone can comment on the quality of the story, Kevin Spacey’s play, the interest of the plot and the rhythm of the episodes. “House of Cards” is not a popular series in the strict sense of the word because it deals with politics; it is an adaptation of the series of the same name created by the BBC in the 1990s.

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Underwood torque,series engine

Without unveiling the plot, posed from the first episode, we take pleasure in finding two stars of the Box Office, Kevin Spacey (American Beauty, Usual Suspects) and Robin Wright (Forest Gump, The Pledge), in the meanders of Washington’s political power. Francis Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey) on-camera confidences, such as the discovery of the refreshing Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), a young reporter at the Washington Herald ready to do anything to get her blog, are solid assets for a 10-hour Washington marathon.

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The Two Heroes in Episode 1 – D.R.

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A sober but very efficient interface – D.R.

Netflix, the perfection of streaming

As far as Netflix directing of the series is concerned, presentation and broadcasting of the episodes, nothing to say. Netflix delivers a very high-end service. A sober and efficient presentation of the episodes, a stream that adapts to the flow without cuts, an exceptional buffer that allows you not to interrupt the broadcast even if the flow collapses. The latest proof that Netflix is entering the big league: as with the series broadcast by the major networks, Netflix has offered itself a poster campaign in Los Angeles. As the hero of the show says: “Bad, for the greater good! »

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The End of an Era

Now that Netflix has triggered hostilities, there is nothing to stop Amazon or Youtube from doing the same. They both have distribution infrastructures powerful enough to start broadcasting exclusive series. So a new era of TV series is beginning.

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We will also carefully monitor the date on which “House of Cards” will be available for final download on iTunes. For the moment, there is no indication that Netflix will be doing this since its service is available on all terminals, including Apple’s. The same goes for the DVD, which we don’t know if it will be released in the next few weeks. This could lead to an increase in the circulation of pirate files.

In France, it is not possible to share this experience at the moment, unless you have a VPN and pay for your Netflix subscription. We will have to wait for Canal Plus to programme the series, probably in September 2013, but in linear mode. Unless…

@plechevallier