Hulu isn’t the only online streaming site that’s dipping their toe into the original content arena. Rumor has it that Netflix is in talks to score an original series of their own. The new project, called ‘House of Cards’, starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher, is currently up for grabs with major cable companies, including HBO and AMC bidding for distribution rights. According to the rumors, Netflix may have cinched the deal.
Nellie Andreeva of Deadline was the first to break the news, writing that, “Negotiations are still going on, but I hear Netflix landed the drama project by offering a staggering commitment of two seasons, or 26 episodes. Given that the price tag for a high-end drama is in the $4 million-$6 million an episode range and that a launch of big original series commands tens of millions of dollars for promotion, the deal is believed to be worth more than $100 million and could change the way people consume TV shows.”
Of course, if Netflix gets this deal it will be a double-edged knife for the cable industry. Many cable subscription services count Netflix as one of the main reasons that paid television subscribers are cancelling their subscriptions in exchange for cheaper online streaming and rentals by mail services. If Netflix can manage to outbid them on new series, building their own base of amazing subscriber-only exclusive content, well, that could serve as a mighty blow to HBO, AMC, Starz, Epix and others.
However, this pricey deal is drawing some questions from industry experts. Peter Kafka of AllThingsD tweeted, “VERY hard to believe NFLX will spend $100mm on a show. They’ve been spending $200mm and getting entire libraries.” That’s a very valid point. Is it really worth it for Netflix to spend $100 million on a single series? Well it just might be when you consider all the David Lynch and Kevin Spacey fans out there who may start subscribing to Netflix for this exclusive show alone.
Aside from that, I think Netflix is trying to show the cable industry who’s boss, as it were. Ryan Lawler of GigaOm’s NewTeeVee brings up the fact that, “Netflix’s bold bid for original programming comes at the same time that various cable networks and distributors have dismissed its ability to disrupt their core business. The overwhelming sentiment in Hollywood seems to be that Netflix will get the scraps that no one else wants.” With this bid it looks like Netflix is retorting, saying, “Hey look cable networks and distributors! I can get my own great exclusive content with or without you!”
Whether or not Netflix wins the bid for ‘House of Cards’ in the end, I think that this is an important event in the history, and future or online streaming entertainment. As more and more viewers start unsubscribing from their traditional cable TV packages and heading online, they will be expecting not only the reruns and backlogs of their favorite series, but also the same new, exciting and exclusive content that they got from their cable television packages. Netflix, with this bid, has shown that they are prepared to take things to a new level and be the online service that offers this content. What this means for the cable networks has yet to be revealed, but we can’t wait to find out. What do you think the future holds in store for Netflix? If the company does enter the realm of original content, how do you think the cable industry will be affected?