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Why House of Cards is good for tv antenna users

From right: David Fincher, Beau Willimon, Robin Wright, Kate Mara and Kevin Spacey

From left: David Fincher, Beau Willimon, Robin Wright, Kate Mara and Kevin Spacey

All right, let’s talk about House of Cards. In terms of internet-streaming cord-cutting, HoC is the first award-winning, public-binging, movie star-starring and beautiful-looking show that didn’t come from cable, satellite or any other form of television (and yes, I’m into hyphens today). It was available exclusively on Netflix. This is a good thing for antenna users because the better that non-OTA shows do, the better OTA shows have to do to compete.

Netflix won three 2013 Emmys for HoC, and it’s now possible that BAFTA’s could be in store for the show. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

“The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has torn up the rule book for its British Academy Television Awards and the British Academy Television Craft Awards to make web-based broadcasters eligible to enter for the first time…While the BAFTA net has widened, only web-based broadcasters who commission content will be allowed to apply.”

Francis and Claire Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.

House of Cards’ main characters Francis and Claire Underwood.

HoC was also the first Internet-only show to be nominated for the Emmy’s major categories. The opening of BAFTA to online shows, and Netflix’s Emmy wins, are no coincidence. Apparently HoC and Breaking Bad will be eligible only for the “International” and “Audience” awards, though it would seem inevitable for all categories to follow.

The second season of HoC is set to release in February of 2014 with filming just weeks away from completion and the finale script recently finished. Netflix ordered the second season at the same time as the first way back in March of 2011. The company had to outbid rival networks HBO, Showtime and AMC, who are certainly no stranger to investing in quality programming.

With the total cost reputedly close to $100 million, two thoughts arise: 1) Don’t ever play poker with a Netflix executive, and 2) We’re a long way from Netflix’s September 2011 “Qwikster” fiasco.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Note the timing of these two 2011 events. When Netflix tried to divide streaming from DVDs, and call the DVD part of its business Qwikster, the public thought Netflix had lost its way as a company. Seriously, the mockery on the Internet was up there with this whole government shutdown nonsense. It now appears that Netflix was actually so forward-looking that the rest of us simply weren’t ready for it.

The reason that the official “Netflix” brand name went to the streaming part, and the new goofy name went to DVD—even though the company was built on DVD rentals—is simple: streaming is more important. Streaming is the future. By investing in David Fincher, Kevin Spacey, Beau Willimon and Media Rights Capital for House of Cards, Netflix was handing the industry a map to the future of TV. It’s a pity that more people, myself included, didn’t realize it.

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