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Netflix streams ahead of the competition

By Emily Elicker
On February 12, 2013

  • With the amount of streaming we all do, it’s only necessary that companies such as Netflix start releasing its own shows. By doing this, it will become easier to find new shows to watch without a busy schedule getting in the way. Associated Press

Step aside HBO and Showtime. A new contender just entered the ring. Netflix, in an attempt to compete with cable television networks, is now exclusively streaming a new series titled House of Cards.

 The political drama from producer David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) follows Kevin Spacey as a revenge-driven congressman after he is cheated out of a coveted position in the president's Cabinet. It is based off of a BBC series of the same name.

It doesn't seem that out of the ordinary a company like Netflix would want to cash in by creating a show available exclusively to its viewers. Hulu Plus subscribers are given several different shows created and filmed for their exclusive viewing pleasure, on top of the latest programming from networks such as Fox and NBC.

Even cable television providers are offering certain features or programming options for customers. DIRECTV provides movies on its On Demand channels that were not released in theaters. The latest is Love and Honor featuring Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games). Time Warner Cable has come up with the latest playback option. Look Back allows customers to watch selected shows up to three days after they first aired without having to use DVR or online streaming.

With all of these options available for customers to choose from, it's hard to see why Netflix didn't jump in the game earlier. What makes Netflix's approach to exclusive content different, however, comes in the way House of Cards is being presented.

After successfully outbidding HBO for rights to the show, Netflix did something that's virtually unheard of. It ordered 26 episodes before shooting had even begun. On top of that, the entire first 13-episode season was made available to stream Feb. 1 everywhere Netflix is available.

This might be where Netflix has other companies beat. Being available in 40 countries around the world appeals to more consumers than Hulu Plus or HBO could dream of.

I'm the first person to admit how much of a Netflix junkie I am. I shamelessly watched seven seasons of Supernatural in less than a week. When I visited London last summer, I was more than apprehensive about what I would be able to stream. It turned out that the only service that would work in a foreign country was Netflix.

Netflix appeals to me personally because it works with my schedule. As a college student, it's more trouble than it's worth to try and make time to watch primetime television. Homework, night classes or workouts usually get in the way. I find it much easier to block off a chunk of time and watch a marathon of one show at a time.

All of the content is available on the website or app 24/7, so I don't have to worry about finding out when the next broadcast of a show or movie would be. It has also given me a chance to catch up on shows I never had time for in high school. To make a good thing even better, Netflix keeps track of what shows and movies you watch and recommends others that it thinks you would like.

My family has also been recently introduced to the world of online streaming. After setting up Netflix on our Wii, we would sit and watch several episodes of Heroes or 24 together during school breaks instead of sitting through multiple traditionally weekly shows. My father set the record in the house when he worked through all five seasons of Breaking Bad in three days.

 Making the entire season of a television show available at once is nothing new to Netflix subscribers. When watching primetime television, I get annoyed that many shows end in a cliffhanger almost every week and make me wait to see what happens. 

With streaming, I just have to hit an arrow to find out what happens next. In filming a show specifically made to move quickly from one episode to the next, it eliminates the need for unnecessary and downright annoying plot twists.

Streaming in mass amounts is something many of my friends do. It is only fitting that networks and companies are finally catching on.

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