Is Netflix's "House Of Cards" The Future of TV?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Kevin Spacey in 'House of Cards' Kevin Spacey in House of Cards (Melinda Sue Gordon for Netflix)

Bob Garfield, co-host of On The Media and author of The Chaos Scenario and the forthcoming Can't Buy Me Like: How Authentic Customer Connections Drive Superior Results discusses "House Of Cards", Netflix's first self-produced TV series, and what it might mean for the future of television on the internet.


Bob Garfield

Comments [36]

Lara from Brooklyn, NY

It is silly though because you can get rid of cable and use your TV as a monitor and also get free TV. TV is still free. In fact you can get an antennae for your computer to watch free tv on your computer or use your TV as monitor for your TV. THe news is excellent. Not only are there tons of news websites to watch live news, you can watch the news on regular free tv. Live sports is the only thing, of course you can watch anything that is on free network TV like the superbowl or an games on regular network TV. But for the obsessed sports fan. Well there are live subsription based websites that have all live games. I know there is one for the MLB and NHL and NFL. You pay for the season and you can watch them all love.

Feb. 06 2013 10:16 AM
Allison in Queens

Sold my tv before moving to NYC 4 years ago. It's been just fine. I do miss BBC America programming but much I can find on and You Tube. Never had HBO but would be interested in the programming if it was available a la cart. (Also true for BBC.) Had Netflix since 2006. Watch most tv on my iPad aka my tiny tv. An see many avant garde and art house films at IFC, MoMA, and Angelika - this is NY after all.

Feb. 05 2013 09:44 PM

If you like house of cards(i've just seen two episodes so far) you'll love boss w kelsey grammer. breathtakingly good.

excellent camerawork on house of cards though.

Feb. 05 2013 12:28 PM
Jf from Ny

Watch sorkinisms supercut on youtube. This is why i dont watch tv. You cant read vonnegut and bear to watch tv again.

Feb. 05 2013 11:48 AM

I realize that the commercials are a much despised part of commercial tv watching but Bob Garfield did mention something of the public good in maintaining commercial tv for the greater public good, for those who cannot afford Netflix subscriptions.
There is another public good in maintaining the commercials in commercial television, my family's well being. I am amongst a pretty large number of people, sorry, don't know the number, who make their living making commercials. The amount of money spent in NYC to make these commercials is not insignificant, nor are the number of tax paying New Yorkers they
employ. We are a highly skilled labor force. Perhaps it is worthwhile to examine the cost of the unintended consequence of putting all these people and production companies out of business. I understand time marches on, we have to crawl out of our coal mines eventually, but I do think there is a story here to be told, and an economic impact to be felt.

Feb. 05 2013 11:47 AM
Amy from Manhattan

From the excerpts I've heard of the show, I have no interest in watching it. It sounds over-written--even the conversation btwn. the congressman & his wife doesn't sound natural. That's OK for speeches, but good dialogue doesn't sound like someone wrote it.

And the whole petty personal revenge scenario is completely unappealing to me. Anyone who fits the main character's description isn't suitable for a cabinet position in the 1st place. It also doesn't sound like what's happening in Washington these days, or at least not the basis for what's happening.

Feb. 05 2013 11:33 AM
Mary P from downtown

Between Netflix and what you can get on networks' websites, Hulu etc, and the fact that I found OTA (Over The Air) HD has better image quality than Time Warner's HD I pulled the plug. I have Apple TV to get my Netflix (and to stream programming from my iPhone) to the monitor. My old cable (the physical cable itself) makes a really great 8 story antenna!

The only thing I miss is NY1.

Feb. 05 2013 11:33 AM
Kelly from UES

I am thrilled by Netflix and Hulu's creation of original series, and I'm really enjoying House of Cards. I have given up on watching any new network shows because anything I enjoy is inevitably cancelled, while terrible (in my opinion) shows like The Neighbors and Three and a Half Men continue to air. I suspect it's because viewers with similar taste to mine also tend to be the people who get their content online or watch on DVR after the initial airing and don't count toward the all-important viewership numbers. As Netflix is not bound by Nielson (sp?), I can hope that they will continue to produce intelligent, quality shows without the constraints that advertisers and target prime time viewing audiences place.

Feb. 05 2013 11:30 AM
JR from NYC

Love House of Cards. Very entertaining. Hate TWC. Best thing I did was to cancel it.
Can still catch PBS without a cable subscription.

Feb. 05 2013 11:29 AM

Brian & Bob, first, you are wrong, the selection of good art house, independent, and/or international films on Netflix is very limited. Basically it sucks.
Secondly, the British House of Cards was better and this new one owes it all of its good qualities except of course Kevin Spacey. Though the Brits had the extraordinary Ian Richardson.
Third, the product placement is so outrageous, the whole thing smells of dirty money. Half of each episode is useless filler. All those cigs, for a start.
Finally, lots of us have been using this watching model for years. Hand it to Netflix to take all the credit for inventing it.
Cheers from A Netflix veteran (and faithful Brian Lehrer listener)

Feb. 05 2013 11:28 AM
John from Brooklyn

re: live broadcasts and newer HBO shows, the local bar screening is your best friend.

Feb. 05 2013 11:28 AM

Where I live, Cablevision has a monopoly on internet access. Netflix cannot replace my TV at a savings because if I cancel my TV, Cablevision charges me more for Internet.

Feb. 05 2013 11:27 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I dropped cable years go.I already pay $35 a month for hi speed internet connection so why pay another $30-$40 for cable as well? I get my regular broadcast TV by air, and use the internet for everything else, including my Magic Jack for telephone. It all goes via the internet and I use a Roku to concentrate and bring it to my TV. Cable is a waste of money. There is so much fabulous content available via the intenet.

Feb. 05 2013 11:27 AM
The Truth from Becky

Keeping netflix & live television - Kevin Spacey or NO Kevin Spacey - been a member since 2001!

Feb. 05 2013 11:26 AM
Katie from Huntington, NY

And "of people" is a prepositional phrase. You can tell which verb to use by dropping it.

Feb. 05 2013 11:24 AM
David from NYC

Nice....are more people being throw out of jobs.
Like the travel agents/books & CD sellers,etc.

Feb. 05 2013 11:23 AM
Jade from Joisey

1) Forget Spacey and Wright: Corey Stoll ROCKS!

2) I have no TV. It's been Hulu and PBS video for me until about two months ago, when I signed up for Netflix. I watched four seasons of Mad Men in about a month, and am now going through Breaking Bad. That's gotten me used to this model. It's acceptable, although I can't say I prefer it. I wish there was a middle way: four episodes on the first of the month year round. With Breaking Bad, I wonder if I'm missing out on suspense when something spectacular happens and I don't have to wait a week to watch.

3) I joined Netflix thinking I would watch Mad Men and then leave the service. Fuhgedaboudit! For 8 bucks a month? I *LOVE* it. There's enough for a years' worth of viewing. If Netflix does one or two things like this a year, I will be a very happy customer. (Aren't they doing an Arrested Development mini-series?)

Feb. 05 2013 11:22 AM
John from Brooklyn

Netflix' House of Cards model is a great idea, and I Iook forward to Arrested Development, but I'm not at all loyal to Netflix and their tortured user interface. I wouldn't worry about HBO if I were them, I'd worry about Apple and Amazon.

Feb. 05 2013 11:21 AM
Kataie from Huntington, NY

I'm a dog breeder. If your guest purchased the puppy from a reputable breeder, he should be able to go through the night at 8-9 weeks, although he should not have be homed until 10 weeks. Contact me for training tips.

Feb. 05 2013 11:19 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Sorry, but it's "The same number of people *are* watching." The number isn't watching, the people are.

But I'm glad Bob thinks about getting this right.

Feb. 05 2013 11:19 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I'm sure google, amazon, and apple are watching, and will consider producing content as well - the way Showtime, HBO, and even AMC do, but as long as cable companies are still also key holders to most people's data conduit - cable companies will simply start charging more for data.

Feb. 05 2013 11:18 AM
John A.

(onair)Addictions are good, unapologetically.
Moral collapse, anyone?
Not for me.

Feb. 05 2013 11:18 AM
Bob from Queens

If this offers another avenue for long-form storytelling, more power to Netflix.

Feb. 05 2013 11:18 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Hulu intersperses brief commercials and I believe that eventually Netflix will have to do the same. I agree that without advertizing, subscription alone will not be sufficient to produce adequate new content. New content will require advertising dollars, and eventually Netflix will have to bring it on to keep subscription prices from going up.

Feb. 05 2013 11:17 AM

"How can we tell if this is a success?" That is hilarious. God forbid that people just watch what they like without concern for its number of twitter followers.

Feb. 05 2013 11:17 AM
Rose from norwalk

...does that mean HBO wants to become a la cart like Netflix???

Feb. 05 2013 11:16 AM
Steven from Montclair, NJ

I started watching the show on Friday, expecting to just view the pilot. By Sunday I'd gone through the whole season because the show was really compelling and I couldn't turn it off. So, I guess I really enjoy the release-everything-at-once model. My only problem with it is that I end up losing days of my life!

Feb. 05 2013 11:15 AM
Marcos from East Village

Hi Brian,

Let's not forget that HBO has an internet streaming service too, HBO GO. It's available on iOS, Android, your PC, and a few connected devices (XBOX, Roku). HBO hasn't committed to selling the service a la carte but it's possible that it could happen down the line.


Feb. 05 2013 11:15 AM
Wendi from Brooklyn, NY

I "binged watch' Netflix all the time. As a busy professional it works for me to have opportunities to veg out and watch a show or movie of interest. It's great that I don't have to wait week to week as this model has lost me because my schedule does not permit it. I don't have cable because I do not watch it enough to justify the cost. I appreciate TV (entertainment) on demand. It makes the most sense for me. I've watched 12 of 13 episodes of House of Cards. It's great entertainment.

Feb. 05 2013 11:14 AM

How does Netflix know for sure what their ROI is? People subscribe to Netflix for a variety of reasons, and plenty of people will watch House of Cards now that they have the subscription. How can they calculate how the show translates into subscriptions?

Feb. 05 2013 11:14 AM
Brian from Manhattan

I binge watched the whole season this weekend. 
I love the intensity that this viewing method provides.

Feb. 05 2013 11:13 AM
Ryan from Chelsea

Watched all 13 episodes this weekend-am now sick, oops-but the quality is astounding on all fronts: directing (even eps without Fincher), Acting from Corey Stoll to Kevin Spacey, writing from playwrights Beau Willimon and Sarah Treem.

My only question: When does Season 2 come out?

Feb. 05 2013 11:11 AM
Gaby from jackson heights

when can we expect season 2?

Feb. 05 2013 11:08 AM
Shaneeza Aziz from Brooklyn

Not as fun as watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix for the 1st time, but a pretty good show.

Feb. 05 2013 11:08 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I too have been a Netflix subsciber for years now, and I watch more via Netflix on my TV than I watch regular TV shows. I only watched one episode of "House of Cards" and it was pretty decent.

I think Netflix and Hulu will increasingly be producing their own content rather than merely purveying existing content just as HBO and some other cable outlets do. The internet rather than cable will ultimately become the major provider of content and not just the means of distributing content. This is only natural with the ubiquity of mobile devices that connect to the internet as opposed to cable or traditional broadcast channels.

Feb. 05 2013 11:08 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I think it's pretty good, though some episodes are uneven. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are amazing. I saw him in Richard III at BAM. He plays a similar, devilish character in this series. I've watched nine episodes so far, but I still prefer the original BBC production.

Feb. 05 2013 09:52 AM

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