At the D: Dive Into Media conference, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said that the company’s political thriller House of Cards has been the most-watched piece of content on the site a few weeks after its release. Not only is that true in the company’s home market of the U.S., but it’s true across all regions that the company operates in, Sarandos said.
The Kevin Spacey-David Fincher show was released earlier this month, about a year and a half after the company announced it was committing to license the content from production house Media Rights Capital. Sarandos wouldn’t provide absolute viewer numbers or try to give relative ratings numbers to compare it to other content that is distributed through traditional TV. But he did say that nearly everyone who watched episode 1 of the show watched the next episode.
Sarandos said that by releasing the show all at once, the company is “crafting long-form storytelling to be told any way you want to watch it.” That differs from the traditional storytelling model on networks, where shows are released on a weekly basis.
“No one has ever watched anything on Netflix that they couldn’t watch all at once,” Sarandos said. There was no interest in changing that model for a new group of originals. But that not only meant changing consumer behavior, it also meant dealing with the realities of today’s social network environment.
Sarandos called it a “different style of watercooler etiquette.” Rather than having to deal with the weekly conversation that is produced, viewers need to ask each other which episodes they’re watching and dealing with that. Still, the strategy seems to be paying off, as viewers are continuing to tune in.