There's been a great deal of chatter about the way we watch TV. Increasing numbers of viewers look to online resources to catch episodes of their favorite shows on television network sites, Hulu, and Netflix among other less-than-legal ways as well, so it's no wonder that Netflix is trying to get ahead of that game by nabbing their own top-notch original programming as well. The streaming content and DVD rental site outbid HBO for the in-the-works project from David Fincher and Kevin Spacey. The drama, called House of Cards, stars Spacey, boasts Fincher as the director, and can now brag about the 26 episode order it just received from Netflix. The company committed about $100 million dollars to the project, which is based off a BBC drama series that takes a look at politics in the U.K. This version will take on the U.S. political system instead, obviously.
This is a bold move for Netflix, but a very interesting one as well. They've already been making moves to make sure they stay at the top of the streaming content game by striking deals with major names like Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM, but this move takes the cake. Not only does this signal a move to stay at the top, but a move to create a whole new game. Sure, there have been webisodes on Hulu and other sites for a while now, there hasn't been anything that I think any of us would venture to call high-quality programming. They're usually offshoots of other shows or content that wouldn't make on it's own in the TV lineup, but this acquisition of a project from such high profile contributors right out from under a channel that consistently provides quality programming is a major coup and the signal of a major shift. It means that online-only content is no longer excess or meant for a small, specific faction of viewers. Online-only content is truly becoming a matter of location only, not a measurement of quality. It's something "they've been saying" for a while now, but it looks like "they" were right.