There is an ongoing debate about Netflix releasing all 13 episodes of its own produced "House of Cards" TV show at once. This is unlike traditional TV and cable shows which release a weekly episode. The point of contention is that by releasing all 13 episodes at once, Netflix missed out on social media chatter that leads to sustained conversations which aid in increasing the shows audience if the show is good and talked about in right manner.
But that was probably a mistake, and here’s why: By giving up the level of constant social media chatter that accrues to shows that are released episodically, Netflix missed out on the kind of sustained conversations that help a show find its widest possible audience.
This is the first time Netflix, which has been nothing short of a revolution in online-on-demand-anytime-streaming experience, release an entire series produced by itself. So far nobody has really understood the success criteria for such an endeavor so it's easy to understand the reactions as below.
It’s not as if “House of Cards” isn’t being talked about — but no one is really talking about the same thing because we all received the whole batch to begin with. The show is being watched on a schedule of our own making. “House of Cards” may be new, but it is probably being watched in pieces like an older show, say Season 1 of “Breaking Bad.” And there is something to be said for the anticipation of a single episode coming out once a week.
“That lack of scarcity, of windowing like traditional television, means that they aren’t going to get those spikes in conversation,” said Mark Ghuneim, chief executive of Trendrr. “After you binge, you don’t have a place to talk about it because everyone is on a different cadence.”
What matters to Netflix and what should matter to everybody is that whether this endeavor is profitable. If it is, it doesn't matter if people continued to talk about it. Good thing is that I haven't read or encountered anyone who has not liked the show. I and my wife binged on the show, multiple times couple of episodes back to back and till it was all over within a week, so much so that Kevin Spacey is now one of our favorite actors. We now wait for season two.
Then as Steve Rosenbaum of Forbes understood (hard way), today it is a world of WWW viewing.
It turns out that waiting for the next episode is an artifact of an earlier era. A linear viewing experience in what is now an non-linear, on demand, always on, world.
It is what my friend Scott Peters explained to me, a world of W. W. W. Viewers want “What they want”, and they want it “When they want it”, and they want it “Where they want It.” WWW Viewing.
The Atlantic Wire ran some numbers the week show was released and came up with a number of 520,834 people to sign up for a $7.99 Netflix subscription for two years for it to break even on this $100 million production.
From Atlantic Wire
With Netflix spending a reported $100 million to produce two 13-episode seasons of House of Cards, they need 520,834 people to sign up for a $7.99 subscription for two years to break even. To do that five times every year, then, the streaming TV site would have to sign up 2.6 million more subscribers than they would have. That sounds daunting, but at the moment, Netflix has 33.3 million subscribers, so this is an increase of less than 10 percent on their current customer base. Of course, looking at Netflix's past growth, that represents pretty reasonable growth for the company that saw 65 percent growth from 20 million to over 33 million world-wide streaming customers.
There you go, this is the number which will tell if "House of Cards" was a success.