There was much talk and hype for the online launch of the Netflix Original Series “House of Cards” throughout this week. Andrew Wallenstein (Variety) wrote an article about how Netflix needs to rethink their strategy about “binge” viewing – when a viewer. EW Weekly, Fast Company, and the New York Times also wrote about the topic – and opinions are varied if it was a good strategy to release the entire series in one shot or not.
Well, I binge viewed the entire season (and I really enjoyed it!) – it is my favorite way to watch TV shows. It is one of the things I love the most about Netflix – the ability to watch an entire TV series (or occasionally a season) episode after episode is instant satisfaction – especially if you have not seen the shows before. What happens in the next episode? Find out in 10 seconds! Cliff hangers are immediately resolved!
And it appears I was not the only one. Although Netflix traffic levels on the North American networks that Procera monitors did not go up significantly over the weekend, we were able to distinguish the House of Cards traffic from other Netflix traffic. On one broadband network, 11% of Netflix subscribers watched at least one episode of the series. Below is a chart from Saturday on a second network (which is when most binge viewing occurred):
Although each episode was not a major factor in overall traffic on this network (especially since the episodes are ~50 minutes long), in aggregate they add up. It is clear that the first few episodes were the most heavily watched, but the later episodes got their fair share of action. We even saw one subscriber on a network that consumed 16G of his usage on House of Cards over the weekend (hmm, how would that affect broadband caps?)
On a different network, House of Cards spiked almost up to 5% of overall Netflix bandwidth usage as shown below (we started monitoring late in the day on Friday):
Was the series launch a success for Netflix? Time will tell, but I really enjoyed the series and I think it reflected well that it got the “launch” ratings that it did. The question is if the series will have longevity with the binge viewing or not, and Netflix will surely be watching the replays of the show over time with the other new series that they have In the works (which I am really looking forward to some more Arrested Development!)