On Wednesday, actor Kevin Spacey gave an inspiring, funny, and f-bomb-filled talk about how big data is changing the world at a conference hosted by IBM in Las Vegas.
Spacey was there thanks to his breakout Netflix hit, “House of Cards,” and he offered a number of interesting insights about it.
For instance, he said that when promoting shows, Netflix tailors its trailers to individual viewers. If you watch a lot of Kevin Spacey movies, your clip will feature a lot of Spacey. If you watch a lot of action flicks, your clip will feature action sequences.
That’s the kind of the thing that can’t be done on regular TV or cable.
He also indicated how much Netflix invested in “House of Cards” and how this ad-free model of internet-streaming TV can be very profitable.
Spacey said that it was “widely reported” that Netflix spent $US100 million to create the first season of “House of Cards,” although, in his best Frank Underwood accent, he also insisted he could not “confirm or deny” that figure. (But, we’re fairly certain he’d know. He not only starred in the show, but was one of its executive producers.)
Industry pundits scoffed at the time, Spacey said, “[They said] we’d never make that money back.”
The team calculated Netflix would “have to sign up 565,000 more members to break even,” he said. Since the launch of “House of Cards” in February 2013, Netflix has brought in “he believes” about 17 million new members, he said.
Those numbers basically check out. The first season aired in February 2013. The internet-streaming service has grown to 50.7 million paid internet-streaming members worldwide, it said when it reported earnings earlier this month. That’s up from 27.5 million at the end of 2012, when it reported earnings in January.
Although Netflix didn’t grow subscribers last quarter as fast as Wall Street wanted, that success was not lost on others like HBO and CBS, both of whom are going to start offering their own shows through internet-streaming subscriptions.
More of that kind of competition from internet TV is likely to come, too.
The FCC said earlier this week that it is spearheading a proposal to create rules for internet streaming that won’t allow the cable or satellite companies to interfere with the internet television subscriptions they deliver, even if those subscriptions compete with their own offerings.