First Original Series Coming Soon to Netflix

Netflix is making a bold move into the original content game.

According to, the red-hot company, which now boasts of 20 million subscribers, has nabbed the exclusive rights to Media Rights Capital’s series House of Cards. The political thriller is produced by and stars Kevin Spacey.

Deadline reported that Netflix outbid HBO and AMC for the series and committed to two seasons and 26 episodes upfront which could cost the company as much as $100 million.

Netflix has been on a deal-making tear, having written some of the biggest checks in the industry as it rapidly builds up its Web-streaming biz. A third of Netflix’s new customers are opting to sign on for its streaming-only service. According a report issued by researcher NPD Group earlier this week, Netflix accounted for a staggering 61 percent of digital movies downloaded or streamed online between January 2011 and February 2011.

That’s a lot of momentum and a pretty powerful platform to launch a new series. The move should sound alarms among several of the other top players in the Web video space, including Google, Amazon and Hulu, which are watching the company warily.