The Algorithms Behind “House of Cards”

House of Cards, the show that launched this week and was funded, produced and distributed by Netflix, is getting lots of attention in medialand.

Much has been said about the business implications {andrew sullivan} of the move, but I haven’t seen much about how Netflix chose this for their first series—until now. And yes, apparently I’m coming upon this information “almost a year” late:

For almost a year, Netflix executives have told us that their detailed knowledge of Netflix subscriber viewing preferences clinched their decision to license a remake of the popular and critically well regarded 1990 BBC miniseries. Netflix’s data indicated that the same subscribers who loved the original BBC production also gobbled down movies starring Kevin Spacey or directed by David Fincher. Therefore, concluded Netflix executives, a remake of the BBC drama with Spacey and Fincher attached was a no-brainer, to the point that the company committed $100 million for two 13-episode seasons. …

Via {andrew sullivan, again}.

DVD : Streaming :: Paper : Screens

Interesting read about the publishing industry’s transition from print to digital {nieman journalism lab}, using Netflix’s journey from DVD to streaming as a guiding light.

Netflix’s experience is early, and directional for news and consumer publishers. What Reed Hastings [Netflix CEO] is essentially saying is that once a company has figured out its route to digital business model success, it doesn’t want to dally, straddling too long the old and the new. That’s tough, expensive — time- and mind-sharing-consuming. Better to get on with the transition.

Imagine 2020, and the always-out-there-question: Will we still have print newspapers? Well, maybe, but imagine how much they’ll cost — $3 for a local daily? — and consumers will compare that to the “cheap” tablet pricing, and decide, just as they doing now are with Netflix, which product to take and which to let go.