A speech by Kevin Spacey on how Netflix (NFLX) is changing the TV landscape forever has got TV insiders buzzing (and some perhaps worried).
The video of the actor went viral on social media, with hundreds of thousands of shares and accolades from TV viewers who are excited about Spacey’s vision for television’s future.
In the speech, Spacey lambasts the notion of having network first approve a pilot before a series can be picked up. Netflix was the only company that would pick up Spacey’s now-acclaimed TV series House of Cards without first viewing a pilot.
Spacey says of the nearly 150 pilots made this year for up to $400 million, only 56 will make it on TV.
Give people what they want, when they want, Spacey adds. He promotes the Netflix model of airing the series in its entirety and allowing viewers to decide when they want to watch the show.
The first actor to deliver the prestigious MacTaggart address to the festival in its 38-year history, Spacey is currently working on the second series of House of Cards. The $100m first series was nominated for nine Emmy awards in the US, the clearest sign yet of the shifting balance of power between traditional broadcasters and their digital competitors.
He said Netflix, the internet video-streaming service that makes entire series available to watch in one go and has 1.5 million subscribers in the UK (and about 38 million worldwide), had proved one thing: “The audience wants control. They want freedom. If they want to binge – as they’ve been doing on House of Cards – then we should let them binge.
He predicts more viewers will begin demanding a Netflix model — which has TV execs pondering how (or even if they would) adapt the current advertiser-based model into something different.
Check out snippets of that speech here: