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'House of Cards' Valentine’s Day Streaming Surges

17 Feb, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Eight-times the number of domestic cable households with Netflix subscriptions watched the first episode Feb. 14 compared with last year

About 16% of cable households with Netflix subscribers watched at least the first episode of the second season of “House of Cards” on its Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) launch, according to data from Procera Networks. This compares with 2% of cable households that watched the first episode of the first season of “Cards” last year.

“This is a massive difference,” Cam Cullen, analyst with Procera, wrote in a blog post.

Nearly 11% of households watched three episodes of the second season of the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning political series starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. More than 16% watched two episodes, while 8.6% watched four episodes. Less than 1% watched six or more of the 13 episodes available on the first day.

Netflix, per policy, does not divulge streaming data for its programming citing competitive concerns. Since its programming is not ad-supported, Netflix is not compelled to provide ratings data similar to network television.

As a result, third-party services, including Fremont, Calif.-based Procera and, separately, Ontario, Canada-based Sandvine, typically track Internet usage rates and trends, specifically how they relate to Netflix. While Procera’s “Cards” data is not definitive, it does provide a snapshot into consumer behavior surrounding the series.

Separately, 6% of Netflix subscribers on a Scandinavian broadband network watched at least one episode of “Cards” — a significant showing for the subscription streaming pioneer’s ongoing international forays, according to Procera.

Meanwhile, the digital tracking service found that Netflix appeared not affected by streaming of the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia — unlike the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

“None of the networks that we looked at had any statistically significant increase or drop from normal rates, and YouTube was similarly unaffected,” Cullen wrote.

Not surprisingly, Procera found that streaming (and TV) interest in the Winter Games depended on what geographic region of the country you lived.

A large cable network in the northern part of the country saw the Opening Ceremonies command 10% of overall streaming traffic at peak time.

“This was an anomaly compared to other networks, and shows that regional differences can affect live event usage,” Cullen wrote.

Indeed, in a southern part of the United States on a large cable operator, Olympic streaming was less than 1% of the total streaming traffic.


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