While we don’t yet know if Netflix will be able to turn a profit on self-produced content, it seems pretty clear they’ll be guaranteed a hit. The NY Times wrote about how they knew House of Cards would do well.
Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.
It’s not that Fox or Universal or whomever don’t have data, they just don’t have the same breadth of internal data that someone like Netflix or Amazon or Apple have. I really enjoyed watching House of Cards, but I’m more interested in how this model of publishing shakes up the industry.