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Netflix's 'House of Cards' creates social media buzz-binge

February 01, 2013|By Dawn C. Chmielewski
  • Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright star in the political drama "House of Cards," which is generating brisk social media buzz. Netflix released the entire 13-episode season all at once.
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright star in the political drama "House of… (Melinda Sue Gordon / Netflix )

Netflix Inc.'s strategy of simultaneously releasing all 13 episodes of its new political drama "House of Cards" is generating social media buzz -- with well over 10,000 mentions since the show's debut just after midnight Friday.

"House of Cards" is sparking thousands of mentions every hour, according to analysis by social media research firm Fizziology. About 62% of the remarks are positive, with negative conversation virtually non-existent.

Most of those expressing mixed views are saying they don't have time to watch the series.

"This indicates that if they can't watch it all at once, they may not watch it until they have time to consume more than one or two episodes at a time," Fizziology President Ben Carlson said. "This might mean that people feel pressured to binge-watch the series."

Netflix found that its subscribers indulge in these marathon viewing sessions, watching episode after episode -- or even entire series -- over short periods of time. Complex serialized dramas such as AMC's "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" have been beneficiaries of this copious TV consumption.

The subscription service's decision to flout network scheduling tradition and release "House of Cards" in one binge-worthy dump represents a nod to shifting viewing habits.

Indeed, 16% of the people talking online about the series are self-described "binge" viewers, most of whom said they planned to watch the series this weekend, Fizziology found. 

"Many in the social conversation around 'House of Cards' are giving progress reports of where they are in the series, like 'I just finished Episode 1,' " Carlson said. "A loud and influential voice in the social space may well lead others to watch in a specific window of time."

Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey stars in "House of Cards" as House Majority Whip Francis Underwood, a snubbed politician bent on revenge. He appears in about 15% of the online discussions.

"People often describe [Spacey] as 'brilliant' and are excited to see him in a Washington role," Carlson said. "However, Spacey takes a backseat to Netflix, which is the real star of the series in social media conversations."

Netflix is mentioned in 38% of online discussions about the series. One in six have taken on the role of advocates, encouraging friends and followers to watch "House of Cards," even after watching just the first episode.

Google searches related to "House of Cards" also have surged in the week leading up to the Feb. 1 series debut.

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