February 5, 2013
Before (and after) the Super Bowl this past weekend, I once again found myself in love with Netflix. You remember Netflix, the company that spent much of the last two years getting over the Qwikster debacle and complaints that the company’s video streaming content was growing stale. Not anymore. Netflix, faced with growing competition from Amazon, and now, Redbox has become cool again. Beginning with the launch last week of “House of Cards,” and continuing with the “Arrested Development” reboot later this year, Netflix is making themselves relevant again and it shows.
Thank you, iPad ownersFor most of the weekend, I watched with delight nearly half the episodes of “House of Cards,” which stars Kevin Spacey as a nasty congressman with a vendetta against nearly everyone in Washington, D.C. This isn’t some low-rent series that one may find on another streaming video site. Rather, it is a series that could run on FX, or more specifically, HBO. And that is the point. Netflix, by launching original series', is suggesting that network and cable television isn’t the only game in town. Better yet, I’m pretty sure that iPad owners have a lot to do with Netflix’s shift to original programming. Some of my “House of Cards” viewing was done on my television via a Roku player. However, I watched most of the episodes on my iPad using the Netflix app. And yes, I even caught one episode on my iPhone. Original series on Netflix don’t live and die by Nielsen ratings. Rather, Netflix is hoping that quality programming such as “House of Cards” will mean new subscribers. This, naturally, could lead to even more original programming in the future. Netflix is also doing something that no network would dare: they released every episode of the first season of "House of Cards" at the same time. Talk about event television! I'm not about to give up my cable service. Still, assuming that Netflix is onto something here, I fully expect to be spending more time in the future viewing content on my iOS devices. Best of all, this will be done on my schedule, and pace.
For AppleGoing forward, Apple could learn a lot from Netflix. With all the talk of a rumored Apple television, perhaps Apple should consider getting into the television production business, or at least partnering with someone else. After all, it is in Apple's DNA to control all aspects of whatever they produce. Just imagine the excitement were Apple to release an actual television that came with original programming. I bet that it would be huge, for example, if Apple would work with Disney's Pixar to create original children's programming only available on Apple devices. It will be interesting to see what projects like "House of Cards" will mean for mobile users in particular going forward. It should prove exciting. Netflix customers can view all episodes of "House of Cards" with their monthly subscription. Non-subscribers are able to view the first episode for free by visiting the Netflix website. See also: The Battle For Your Streaming Entertainment Dollar Is Getting More Intense in 2013, DIAL: Netflix And Google To Take On Apple's AirPlay With New Second-Screen Protocol, and Redbox And Verizon Hope To Dent Netflix By Offering Their Own Streaming Video Service.