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Netflix Posts Full 'House of Cards'

4 Feb, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

"House of Cards"

Netflix’s Feb. 1 launch of original series “House of Cards” proved in part that there are subscribers with no life or interest in the Super Bowl.

The series spiked Netflix’s bandwidth traffic from 5% to 11% at times through Feb. 3 on separate ISP networks — usage impacted as a result of the series’ 13 episodes’ 50-minute running times, according to Procera Networks.

The smart reboot of the 1990’s British TV drama features Kevin Spacey as over-ambitious House Majority Whip Francis Underwood, who together with equally cunning wife (Robin Wright), shrewdly micromanages business leaders, members of Congress, the White House and even the president for personal gain.

However flawed Underwood is, he’s crafty pitting adversaries against confidants, while unaware of a brewing danger from within his carefully controlled environment. These twists and turns apparently resonated with some viewers, many of whom watched multiple episodes in succession.

Procera, which monitors ISP data usage five cable and five DSL operators in North America, found that on one ISP, 1% to 2% of Netflix subs watched episodes one through four in their entirety, followed by slightly declining percentages for the remaining nine episodes.

Netflix, as policy, does not release streaming data on its programing, including originals, citing competitive reasons.

"We're happy with the great reception the show has had, both in the traditional media and on social media as well as the many great reviews our members have written on Netflix.com,” the SVOD pioneer said in a statement.

Yet, Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, speaking at an investor event in 2012, disclosed that 50,000 subscribers watched all 13 episodes of the fourth season of “Breaking Bad” the day before the series’ season-five premiere on AMC Networks.

Meanwhile, Cam Cullen with Procera, said that total Netflix traffic volume across the ISPs it monitors did not increase during Super Bowl weekend, while traffic volume for “Cards,” did.

“On one broadband network, 11% of Netflix subscribers watched at least one episode of the series,” Cullen wrote. “It is clear that the first few episodes were the most heavily watched, but the later episodes got their fair share of action.”

He said one Netflix subscriber used 16G of his monthly data allowance on “House of Cards” during the weekend.

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