Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ Looks to Upend TV

by Tom Taulli | February 1, 2013 1:27 pm

[1]Just a few months ago, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX[2]) looked hopeless. The company’s stock was languishing — falling well below $70 — and competitors such as Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA[3]) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN[4]) were getting aggressive.

But then Netflix went on a run. The spark was actually Carl Icahn’s announcement of a 10% stake[5] in the company in early November. Then it had a blow-out earnings report[6].

The stock price is now at $169.93.

Why the turnaround? A key reason is the surge in mobile. The fact is consumers are increasingly using tablets and smartphones to watch video content. It’s a trend that’s still in the early phases.

But Netflix wants to take things to the next level. So, today the company launched a new show, called House of Cards[7]. The twist? All 13 episodes are available now.

Yes, it’s an attempt to upend traditional broadcast TV. Netflix’s streaming video means no need to have airtime schedules. You can watch the show anytime you want — on any device. And it has has no commercials.

For Netflix, this isn’t a shot in the dark. Keep in mind that the company is a data maestro. As a result, it knows that well about the growing trend of “view-bingeing” — where viewers watch a complete season at a single sitting!

Because of this, Netflix thinks content will start to change. For example, expect fewer flashbacks and recaps in serial shows.

However, if Netflix wants to be at the forefront of the emerging changes, it needs a top-notch show. And House of Cards has a good chance. It has a $100 million budget for two seasons, which will include 26 episodes. The show — which is based on a nefarious congressional whip — stars Kevin Spacey, and the director is David Fish, whose his prior works include The Social Network and Fight Club.

So far, the reviews look promising. But of course, that doesn’t guarantee success. Entertainment is never easy.

Yet Netflix is making the right moves and could be poised to help change TV. If so, it could make Netflix synonymous with the next phase of entertainment, which would certainly be a nice growth booster.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook[8], a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook[9]” and “High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders[10].” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli[11]. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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  2. NFLX:
  3. CMCSA:
  4. AMZN:
  5. Carl Icahn’s announcement of a 10% stake:
  6. blow-out earnings report:
  7. House of Cards:
  8. IPO Playbook:
  9. How to Create the Next Facebook:
  10. High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders:
  11. @ttaulli:

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