Is ‘House of Cards’ a success? Social TV has the answer

By Natan Edelsburg 

Netflix’s “House of Cards” made TV history, simply by being referred to as a TV show. The Kevin Spacey political drama has catapulted binge-watching from a TV junkie’s obsession to a major form of normal TV consuming. Traditional TV critics were forced to cover this show differently. The Six Stages of “House of Cards” Grief replaced the weekly episodic review. After all the hoopla around the midnight, entire season launch, was House of Cards actually a success? Netflix says yes, but isn’t revealing the numbers. Social TV on the other hand paints a very clear picture.

The House Of Cards trailer is Netflix’s most watched video on YouTube:

According to social media benchmarking company Unmetric, “the ‘House of Cards’ trailer is the most viewed of all the videos in Netflix’s YouTube Channel with a more than 1.2 million views – it gained a million views between 16th January and 8th February.” This show was huge for Netflix’s growth on the social web. Bringing more eyeballs to their YouTube Channel means that House of Cards is significantly helping them grow their marketing channels. This will definitely help them grow their subscriber base as they continue to unleash more and more content.

Social sentiment indicates that the majority felt positively about House of Cards:

Trendrr’s analysis on the first three days that House of Cards had launched (February 1-3) shows that 63% shared positively about the show. Mark Ghuneim, the CEO of Trendrr explained that, “social serves as word-of-mouth around availability and drives awareness – this is both organic and media feeding the awareness covering the uniqueness of the programing eg.  the ability to consume (binge) it all at once.”

How does House of Cards social activity compare to more traditional primetime TV?

Networked Insights provided an interesting analysis point. House of Cards “premiered around nearly 30k conversations, which is no The Walking Dead (with over 900K conversations when it returned Sunday night), but is on par with the weekly performances that ABC’s Scandal receives,” explained Sean Reckwerdt, the company’s Lead Analyst & Cultural Anthropologist. “Unlike traditional sequential content – the conversation around House of Cards spiked initially when it premiered and then has been slowing decaying since then, but did increase slightly over the weekend,” he added.  Apples can’t be compared to oranges but the level of buzz and timing of it, is in sync with binge watcher’s primetime – the weekend.

The volume for “House of Cards” and “@houseofcards” for January 11th – February 11th shows that the traditional media drove the buzz:

Topsy pointed out how the buzz has in large part been driven by the intense amount of press the show has received, proving once again how important traditional media can be in driving new and innovating platforms. Here are a few highlights.

  • 17,940 Tweets: Feb 1st – Debut of House of Cards on Netflix
  • 18,796 Tweets: Feb 2nd – Peak in Twitter chatter
  • 13,563 Tweets: Feb 5th – The New Yorker publishes a story on  “House of Cards” and the Decline of Cable

Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul had the top tweet follow by Netflix, The New Yorker and The New York Times.

  • Aaron Paul: @aaronpaul_8: @HouseofCards is brilliant. @KevinSpacey is brilliant. @netflix I love you
  • Netflix US: @netflix Just a few hours to go until the Feb 1 @HouseofCards debut! Watch all 13 episodes on your own schedule.
  • The New Yorker: @newyorker: Is the @Netflix-produced series @HouseofCards the death of cable#television? Tim Wu (@superwuster) on why it might be:
  • The New York Times: @nytimes: Netflix to Deliver All 13 Episodes of ‘House of Cards’ on One Day
House of Cards was a social success, but was it a business success?

The Atlantic  pointed out that Netflix will need “520,834 people to sign up for a $7.99 subscription for two years to break even,” on the $100 million dollar investment. Time will tell as Netflix grows to see if they’ll be able to keep up this level of content. With Arrested Development on the horizon, traditional social TV will continue to be challenged.