House of Cards and the rise of the content-on-demand generation

January 20, 2014Uncategorized

House of Cards and the rise of the content-on-demand generationIt was always going to happen. After the show was nominated for four awards, Robin Wright picked up a Golden Globe for her performance in House of Cards and in doing so scored a major win for on-demand internet streaming service Netflix.

This is the first Golden Globe to be awarded to a Netflix original series and epitomises not only the success of the show (which is brilliant) but of Netflix’s untraditional distribution methods.

Why should you care?

Well, in one fell swoop the world of TV just got very, very close to the world of online content.

When developing House of Cards, Netflix basically ignored all of the traditional ‘rules’ of TV production – there was no pilot and all 13 episodes (the whole first series) were made available for immediate streaming. It was a figurative middle finger aimed directly at the executives and the studios who knocked back one of the shows of the year.

Unsurprisingly, this new method of distribution was an immediate success with online viewers who devoured the first series in marathon viewing sessions. They shared their love of the show across social media and in turn generated a huge amount of online buzz.

What are the implications of the Netflix model to the world of content and media?

The content-on-demand generation has arrived – the consumer has never been more empowered to take control of their media consumption. No longer do we need to wait for the 8.30pm slot on a Monday night or sit through excruciating five-minute ad breaks.

The success of House of Cards and the critical acclaim that followed have demonstrated that great content, regardless of the platform or advertising budget, will always win through, and that maybe at last common sense will prevail and the content will come first – not the advertisers.

But it’s not just the TV execs who need to take heed of this great migration of consumers from traditional to on-demand online media. Brands looking to engage directly with consumers online must remember that it’s not just a change of the channel or platform, but a relinquishing of control to the consumer. Yes, audiences are hungrier than ever for great content, but only if it can be consumed on their own terms.

In a recent speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, House of Cards star and Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey echoed this sentiment:

“Through this new form of distribution, we have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form that they want it in, at a reasonable price and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it.”

I’d recommend watching the entire speech.

What does this mean for brands?

As Spacey said, “It’s all content. It’s just story and the audience has spoken… they want stories.”

It’s time for brands to ditch the status quo and embrace dynamic storytelling that empowers online audiences to engage with and share content on their own terms.

As for my prediction for next year’s Golden Globes – I see no reason why Jaguar couldn’t step it up to win a gong with one of their great branded videos.

Are you a Netflix fan?  What you think about the future of on-demand content?

By Craig Hodges – CEO 

Find him on Google+


Kevin Spacey has since been announced as the keynote for this year’s Content Marketing World conference in September. For more information visit


One Comment

  • Quim says:

    Thanks so much, Craig. Superb speech coming from K.Spacey!! I must share it here in Barcelona, hoping that brands around here will open their minds a little bit more i our unstoppable way to content marketing, the only future for marketing.