Streaming Shows: The New TV

In the wake of the success of the Netflix-commissioned House of Cards, streaming shows that are available exclusively online could completely replace our traditional TV viewing habits in a matter of years.

You Say You Want a Revolution

Streaming shows that are only available via the Web may be a quiet revolution. Make no mistake, though: it’s an important and rapidly growing revolution that has thrown traditional TV broadcasters into quite a panic at what many commentators have described as the end of an era. Viewers in this day and age want choice and plenty of it. They also want the luxury to watch what they want, when they want it, and to view as little or as much of it as possible. Streaming shows gives people the freedom to do just that.

Streaming the Night Away

Why are streaming shows such a success? Because as a whole, today’s generation spends much more time in front of a computer, tablet, or mobile screen than they do in front of a TV or plasma screen. That makes curling up on the sofa and participating in a marathon binge of the entire first season of Sons of Anarchy at the touch of a button a tangible reality. Consequently, the entertainment industry is both extremely worried and excited, in equal measure, about exclusive online commissioned content. If more TV shows are premiered online in series-length caches, the weekly cliffhanger formula favored by traditional TV networks could become as outdated as a VHS.

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House of Cards
The game changer in the success of streaming shows was of course Netflix’s original online-only drama, House of Cards. Commissioned and funded for $100 million, the political thriller stars Kevin Spacey as the ruthless, power-hungry, and sly Congressman Francis Underwood who wants America on a plate. It’s a dark look at American politics and is loosely based on the BBC drama of the same name. The David Fincher-directed series went on to snag a total of nine 2013 Emmy nominations, and many fans loved the fact that they could stay up late watching back-to back episodes and plowing their way through all 13 episodes in the space of one week.

Arrested Development
Giddy with the success enjoyed by House of Cards, Netflix sought to maintain the momentum and commissioned a fourth season of the cult TV classic Arrested Development. The original first three seasons of the show were shown on Fox, but in 2006 the series hit a brick wall due to low ratings. Netflix decided to resurrect it for a fourth season in May of 2013. Although all 15 episodes were met with a mixed reception, Netflix executives hailed it as a success.

Rumors abound that Netflix is in talks to stream a fifth season of Arrested Development, but as yet, nothing has been confirmed. The company has recently acquired the rights to the nine-part historical drama Marco Polo, produced by the Weinstein company. Evidently, Netflix’s commitment to streaming shows which can only be found exclusively online is very much something the company fervently believes in and one which will no doubt have other streaming companies soon following suit (remember to occasionally test Internet speed with an online speed test to make sure you have a robust connection for streaming).