House of Cards season 3 debut causes traffic and Twitter spikes

Netflix still isn’t releasing any ratings for season 3 of House of Cards, which premiered on the service last Friday, but there are some indicators suggesting that the show is doing pretty well: Traffic management specialist Sandvine reported this week that the Netflix traffic of one unnamed U.S. ISP grew substantially over the past weekend (hat tip to DSL Reports).

On Friday and Saturday night, that ISP saw 10 to 15 percent more [company]Netflix[/company] traffic than on the preceding weekend. And on Sunday night, traffic was even up 30 to 35 percent, compared to a week ago.

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Sandvine Media and Industry Relations Manager Dan Deeth is quick to point out that this doesn’t translate into ratings. The company only sees what kind of traffic goes over a network, not which shows or movies Netflix subscribers are watching. But it’s very likely that the premiere of House of Cards had something to do with the spike.

Netflix itself has never released ratings for any of its shows, with executives arguing that ratings simply don’t matter much to a subscription business. But the company did send over some data this week that suggests that the new season of House of Cards did generate some buzz: People tweeted 648,374 times about the show during its premiere weekend, according to Netflix. And that buzz was almost global, as the top ten cities tweeting about the show included five from outside of the U.S.

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How House of Cards helped one phone app jump up the charts

Spoiler alert: In episode 5 of the Netflix original series House of Cards, the U.S. President plays the mobile game Monument Valley. I’m sorry to have ruined the series for you with that big news, but truth be told, it is big news — and big business — for the developers behind the game.

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Why is that? Because viewers of episode 5 hit both the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store like a gale force wind late to a storm and downloaded Monument Valley. And we know that thanks to appFigures; a mobile app reporting company that took a smart look at how the product placement would impact game sales.

On its blog, appFigures explains that it watched both app store charts and saw Monument Valley enjoy a steep rise on both mobile platforms five hours after the new House of Cards season debuted. What’s the significance of five hours? The game appeared in episode 5, so the House of Cards faithful who tuned in as soon Season 3 debuted saw it five hours after they started their binge watching.

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To be honest, Monument Valley was already successful, having quickly become a top game on phones and tablets not long after it debuted last year. I broke out my wallet and spent $3.99 for the unique 3-D maze-like puzzler with a compelling storyline, for example.

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But clearly, not everyone has heard about Monument Valley and you can’t dispute the impact House of Cards has had, moving the game back up the charts for top paid and top grossing games.

Netflix releases, then removes, House of Cards season 3 two weeks early

Frank Underwood wouldn’t have wanted it any other way: Netflix briefly got its subscribers excited Wednesday afternoon by making the entire season three of House of Cards available on its service two weeks ahead of its official release date — only to remove all of the videos again minutes later.

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Season three of the political drama was supposed to become available on February 27. I have asked [company]Netflix[/company] for comment, but have yet to hear back. However, the company told CNBC that the early showing was due to “a technical glitch.” And on Twitter, Netflix indicated that it will stick to its original release schedule and make the show available on February 27:

Netflix and the non-event movie

Unlike the traditional movie paradigm, the value of the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel to Netflix will not decline over time and has no particular time “window.” It is not a depreciating asset but a long term investment in audience building, which makes it a very different animal from most movies.

Netflix adds director’s commentary to House of Cards

Netflix just added director’s commentary to the fist season on House of Cards, giving its subscribers the option to re-watch the political drama with audio commentary from all six season one directors, including most notably David Fincher. It’s a smart move that adds a new twist to the show in time to get people excited for season two, which is coming to the service in February. It also goes to show that original content comes with added benefits for Netflix, including the ability to add new features like this extra audio track, or the 4K resolution that Netflix will offer for season two.

Netflix isn’t abandoning binge viewing, after all

This morning, an email from a PR agency titled “Netflix likely to end binge watching in 2014” hit my inbox, responding to this week’s announcement that the streaming service’s first animated original Turbo Fast will be released in installations, as opposed to making the entire season available on day one. Then, a little later, another email, this time from Netflix: “House of Cards returns for second season Friday February 14.” In one big swoop, ready to binge. No change of heart, after all. So why did Netflix divvy up Turbo Fast? Business Week has the answer, House of Cards star Robin Wright has no comment.