You may have read the news about the world premiere of a new TV show ‘House of Cards‘ available exclusively on Netflix. It is a first-rate show produced by Netflix with a list of A starers like Kevin Spacey playing the lead role and directed by the critically acclaimed David Flincher .The icing on the cake is that the mini tv series is available for binge viewing i.e. all the 12 episodes of Season 1 are available at one shot for viewing in Netflix.
Binge viewing is the concept of watching back to back episodes of a TV show over an extended period of time for people who cannot figure out time to watch one episode a week. This is an established way of watching TV series, mostly re-runs that are normally watched over a lazy weekend with the help of DVD set or through internet streaming services.
This path breaking step of Netflix could be either end up as a game changer thereby posing a great threat to traditional tv broadcasting or could end up as an experiment that may not be continued due to financial viability or distribution complexities etc.
But there are two aspects that needs to be looked upon:
1.Future of Traditional TV
TV for long has been occupying major role in every house hold. Though the number of channels are increased , there is a small fraction of TV program that one really watch. Most of the issues in not being able to use TV to the fullest are :
- with not able to watch it in convenient time
- too many advertisement that spoil the whole viewing experience
- watching it one episode per week there by losing and regaining emotional connect again.
And traditional TV did not do anything about the issues that consumers have been facing for a long time . Yes there was an option of DVR but again it was pretty much limited to scheduling and recording content that can be watched only on TV and not in any other devices.
But with Netflix showing all episodes at once will empower users and provide them with choice and flexibility over how , when and where they want to view TV programs for which they have paid a huge subscription fee.
2.By passing the Social TV experience
This type of binge viewing leads to less discussions between watching episodes. The discussion that happens on social media after watching one episode a week will be sorely missed. There will no more be yearning about what can happen next or will there will be any teasers as to what might happen.Also watching all 12 episodes over a single or few sittings could be tiresome and can reduce the awesomeness of the show to an extent especially when the show is dark and intense. The second screen experience that is catching up now without so many companies trying to engage users who are constantly discussing about the shows in social media like Twitter during the advt breaks creating twitter trends will not find any relevance.
Future of Traditional TV Broadcasting
It would be interesting to see how traditional TV responds to such a threat from Netflix. We are also reading news that Amazon ,Google,Hulu etc are also getting into programming original content. I wish that it doesn’t again lead to an assortment of online streaming services coming up with their own shows ending up similar to the current crop of channels with every one demanding to subscribe to their own streaming service to watch these shows.
Also it would not be a cake walk for Netflix to continue producing original content without thinking of viable business model that could necessarily mean advertisement and other product promotions there by recouping the production costs. Currently traditional TV broadcaster distribute shows to different countries by getting help through partners . Though it takes time for the series to reach different parts of world,partners can pitch to an extent by ways of censoring the content and sorting out licensing issues .But for Netflix which is available in very few countries , this could be a big challenge , distributing digital media content. The sooner it reaches every major country, it could help a great deal to expand the viewership there by monetizing their content even better.