As Netflix faces increased competition from rivals like Amazon, and even Facebook, one of its chief differentiators as a leader of streaming TV shows and movies is its roster of content. And now, add Netflix to the Hollywood studios and others who provide that content.
On Friday, Netflix announced that it has signed a deal with Oscar-nominated director David Fincher--who made "The Social Network" and "Fight Club," among other films--for an original series called "House of Cards" that will be available exclusively to its subscribers. Rumors of the deal had been swirling for days.
The series will star Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey; Netflix and Fincher will be executive producers. Netflix has committed to at least 26 episodes, said its Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in a blog post today.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix outbid HBO and others for the rights to the series.
Sarandos said in the post that "House of Cards" is based on an early-1990s BBC miniseries "that's been a favorite of Netflix members." Fincher will direct the pilot.
"Originally written as a novel by former UK Conservative Party Chief of Staff Michael Dobbs, 'House of Cards' explores the ruthless underside of British politics at the end of the [Prime Minister Margaret] Thatcher era. Reset against the backdrop of modern-day U.S. electoral politics, this new one-hour drama follows Spacey as an ambitious politician with his eye on the top job."
"House of Cards" is the first original series that Netflix will offer its subscribers after years of making TV shows and movies produced by others available for DVD rental and, more recently, instant streaming. Clearly, as competition for viewers of streaming content heats up, Netflix is looking for ways to maintain more control over what it offers.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Netflix may offer (subscription required) four or more episodes of "House of Cards" available to viewers "at once so...subscribers can immerse themselves more deeply in the series at one time."