I’m Back! Plus: Netflix Gambles, Wins Big

I know I’ve been a bad blogger lately. On all fronts.

But that’s about to change — with Advertising Week Europe all the way live in London, you’re about to hear a lot from me. And while nothing’s firmed up yet, I might have some exciting news to share soon on the contributions front.

Speaking of exciting news.

Since the last time we talked, I’ve been accepted into the VCU Brandcenter Communication Strategy program AND I’ve accepted a position as a summer strategy intern at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in San Francisco!

Suffice it to say, I’ve been busy. And I’m SO excited to share all of my future learnings and such with you.

Now, let’s get back to business. I meant this for an AWSC post, but with the backlog that is #AWEurope, I figured I’d share here first.

Here we go:

I’m the biggest proponent of digital culture out there. I believe staunchly in non-traditional media. I cringe when that, excuse my language, asshat of a codger Tom Hammerschmidt tells Zoe Barnes, “Twitter, blogs, rich media, they are all fads. They aren’t the foundation this paper was built on.” But if you asked me whether Netflix’s $100 million gamble was itself one big flimsy house of cards, I would’ve said absolutely.

Now I’m 7 hours deep (upon writing, I was 7 hours deep. update: binge complete) into a Kevin
Spacey-fueled binge and kicking myself for doubting the online giant’s strategy.

Sure, this isn’t Netflix’s first foray into original programming (that distinction belongs to Lilyhammer); but it is the first time the company has taken a hands-on approach to production, tapping big names like David Fincher, who directed the series’ first two episodes.

Pre-release, consumers and pundits alike questioned the streaming service’s ability to succeed – and what’s more, to not lose money – by dropping an entire season at once. Blasphemy, said traditional media.

HBO, the reigning king of original programming, fails all the time. How could this “fledgling” hope to win by going all-in on the first try? They simply couldn’t, right?

Well I’ll be damned. This show is good. It’s really, really good. The acting is top-notch, the plot line is full of intrigue and beautifully developed characters, and the production quality is second to none.

And to those who questioned how “dumping” the entire first season of HOC out in the market at one time could possibly be the right move?

Don’t pull a Hammerschmidt.

This is the way of new media. We’ve grown up with DVD seasons, Netflix and Hulu binges, and the reliability of our DVR. Of course this would work. Appointment viewing has gone the way of paper-only reporting: it’s a relic. Sure, it’s still there, but it’s in no position to not take its newfangled “fad” competitors seriously.

Spacey’s Frank Underwood tells Zoe regarding Slugline (the series’ Politico 2.0), “If freedom and exposure are what they’re offering, I would say that is a meeting worth taking.” This same argument is valid for Netflix, who noted, “For viewers, Internet TV is a better experience because of the freedom and flexibility it provides.”

Steven Rosenbaum wrote for Forbes, “This is a series that deserves to be savored – not ‘binged’ on;” but he couldn’t have been more wrong. This is a 13-hour movie that people are dying to see, not to mention, a 13-hour movie that might just change the landscape of traditional television.

With House of Cards experiencing enviable success, and similar treatment coming for cult-favorite Arrested Development in May, Netflix is paving the way for an internet-TV revolution.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained to investors, “In baseball terms, linear TV only scores with home runs. We score with home runs, too, but also with singles, doubles, and triples.”

Well, Reed, you certainly knocked it out of the park with this one. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next.

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