Keeping Your Cards -- And Viewing Data -- Close To The Vest

For the second consecutive season of Netflix’s political drama “House of Cards,” we are left to our imagination -- or rough estimates  -- about how many of Netflix’s nearly 32 million subscribers have viewed one or all of the 13 new episodes.

Estimates range from as few as 2.2 million (7% of Netflix’s subscribers) to as high as 4.8 million (15%). Either of those would be a non-event in comparison with any broadcast network show -- and of somewhat mild interest in comparison with cable shows.

One would think Netflix’s rapidly growing business model would want to hit the gas and grab any potential extra publicity -- not just to lure new subscribers, but also producers, directors and other talent.

Apparently this isn’t necessary, because Netflix doesn’t sell advertising, says Ted Sarandos, chief content officer.  But neither do HBO or Showtime.



Netflix has pitched me numerous times to resubscribe after having been a member for a short time a while ago.  But those promotions have never touted in any big way that Netflix is the exclusive platform for “House of Cards,” a critically acclaimed and Emmy-nominated drama. Of course, that’s not the entire point. Netflix believes it cannot live and die by one series.

In the future, apples-to-oranges comparisons of video viewing are sure to multiply and get more complicated. Many digital platforms are already struggling with such measurements as “view-to-completion” and “view-to-engagement.”

With “House of Cards,” however, we are told by the new electronic water coolers -- social media platforms -- that it’s something good to watch. Is that enough?

Here’s another small and yet-to-be-determined-value data point to throw onto the pile: The second-season trailer of “House of Cards” has already posted 2.13 million views on YouTube. The first season’s trailer had 2.4 million views in total.  Have fun extrapolating.

2 comments about "Keeping Your Cards -- And Viewing Data -- Close To The Vest".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 21, 2014 at 2:31 p.m.

    They've got very little to gain and something to lose by playing the rules according to incumbent media. The mystery enhances their appeal, so maybe your request for more exposure is unwarranted.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, February 21, 2014 at 3:56 p.m.

    Just on a pedantic grammatical point, season #2 would be the first consecutive season, not the second consecutive season . You have the first/debut season, and then if the second season follows the same criteria they collectively become consecutive seasons, and season #2 becomes the first consecutive season. The second consecutive season could occur in season #3.

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