Binge viewing could be case study on why advertising is beneficial

Netflix is experimenting with original content.

One such experiment is their original series House of Cards. The series premiered with its first season (comprised of thirteen episodes) on Friday February 1st. By Saturday February 2nd, I had seen all thirteen episodes and was shocked that there were no more, and the series had just come out the day before.

As a quick review on the show, I can say that this series is absolutely great. The nearest thing I could conceive to compare it to is Mad Men. Kevin Spacey nails down a superb southern accent, and the viewer is compelled to root for him in all his underhanded political dealings.

The decision to show make all thirteen episodes available at once I can’t say was so great. The advantage of Netflix, as Variety has pointed out, is the ability to binge view. That’s precisely what I did with House of Cards.

Binge viewing complete.

Binge viewing complete.

The decision to continue watching all of these episodes was mine alone. However, what I find interesting is that I have never gone through an entire series of anything on Netflix in one sitting. So why did I do it this time? It wasn’t intentional, but each episode kept me wanting more, and I had the ability to get more instantly.

This is where I think advertising is beneficial.

Netflix is around $10/month. For Netflix to produce an excellent series like House of Cards, I’m struggling to find where their return of investment comes in. With a network, the first series of House of Cards would be spaced out across a few months exposing the viewer to at least 300 tv spots. The network would be happy with the ad revenue, and the viewer would have a measured amount of HoC over a decent amount of time. Remove the ads, and the viewer has the choice to see the series within hours, only paying $10 to Netflix. How is this model going to work long term for the provider? I don’t think it can. Even with cable, a series can last over the span of months keeping the viewing paying for service. With the option to binge view, how do you keep the viewer long term?



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