Will Netflix topple TV's House of Cards?

The streaming revolution may feel like hype, but Netflix's House of Cards shows that the on-demand world is here to stay, writes Nicola Kemp.

Waiting is dead. Netflix may have invested $100m in David Fincher's beautifully directed House of Cards; but I binge-watched the entire 13-episode first season in just two sittings.

Granted, the combination of a cold and pregnancy-induced exhaustion has made me particularly sloth-like; but freed of the time and scheduling restrictions that broadcast television imposes, why wait for the next episode?

For many marketers it may feel like the on-demand revolution has been long-promised, but has never actually materialised. However, with consumers demanding instant gratification in ever-more areas of their life, ignoring the shift toward streaming services would be a grave mistake.

Netflix now has more than 33m streaming subscribers worldwide, more than 25m of whom are in the US. Moreover, the company is in the midst of an aggressive international expansion campaign.

Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, has described the current broadcast-TV landscape as 'managed dissatisfaction'. However, in the emerging multi-device, on-demand world, where we are no longer subject to endless re-runs of Midsomer Murders, the power is, at last, in consumers' hands.

'Content is king' may well have been the battle-cry of executives across TV-land for decades; but the reality of adversarial - or just plain contrary - scheduling, multiple and crowded ad breaks and slashed budgets have all combined to create a particularly challenging environment. Add to this the continued threat of digital piracy - fuelled, in part, by the absurdity of geographic rights restrictions in an age of global digital communication and entertainment - and it becomes clear that following a 'business as usual' strategy is no longer an option for brands.

Yet many seem content to do just that, still viewing the 30-second spot and 'appointment to view' television as the crux of their marketing campaigns. Faced with the growing army of viewers who now consume media content on their own terms, this approach is dangerously out of touch. When you are on the cusp of change, maintaining the status quo is just another form of self-denial.


- What brands should know about the on-demand revolution

Beware of the status quo

Nothing is more damaging to business than a determination to maintain existing business models. Marketers must avoid getting bogged down in arguments over which media channel is most effective, and focus on long-term shifts in consumer behaviour.

Consumer curators

Brands can no longer simply rely on media channels to segment their target audiences. On-demand content gives platforms like Netflix the opportunity to create highly targeted interfaces.

A new meritocracy

The proliferation of digital channels and streaming services has made the competition for eyeballs increasingly fierce. Yet, as the plethora of YouTube successes show, content creators are no longer at the mercy of traditional broadcasters.

The instant economy

It isn't just film studios that must embrace global release dates. Consumers simply will not wait for content. Geographical rights restrictions are of a bygone age. Brands and media-owners must do more to meet demand for 'all-you-can-eat' content and instant gratification.

Nicola Kemp is Marketing's head of features. Follow her on Twitter: @nickykc


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers