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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why You Like House of Cards

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Ha! You thought Netflix made the decision to hire David Fincher to direct the first few House of Cards episodes just because he's one of the best directors working today? Bullshit! Merit buys nothing in Hollywood. It's a numbers game—and it turns out Netflix is positioned to play it better than anyone. Why? Oh, just their whole tracking-every-single-thing-you-watch-and-creating-a-macro-level-profile-of-subscriber-viewing-habits thing. Let's go all sabermetrics on this shit!

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, in all likelihood you’re a big fan of House of Cards. Netflix designed it that way.

With the release of House of Cards, Netflix began the Moneyball-era of content production. The majority of Netflix subscribers watch Kevin Spacey, political thrillers, and David Fincher’s movies. Guess what? House of Cards has all three.

In baseball, on-base percentage is the best predictive metric for team success. In content production, the best predictor is user viewership behavior. (Via.)

As somebody who's been enjoying House of Cards, I feel stupid for not realizing this was the case all along, but of course it was: I'm a Netflix subscriber who generally loves David Fincher movies and all sorts of political junk, which means I'm pretty much in the sweet spot for House of Cards, and it makes sense that I'm hardly alone, and it also makes sense Netflix would crunch all their data about their subscribers' tastes before spending insane amounts of money. If commerce has one thing to teach us, it's that our usefulness to most people begins and ends with who we choose to give our money to; if digital commerce has one thing to teach us, it's that the only contribution most of us will ever make to culture is to be a few more zeros and ones in an endless ocean of data.

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