“I was kind of surprised, because I don’t really think of Netflix as being television… (It’s) sort of odd the academy is so up-to-date.”
— Garth Ancier, a former network chief and an Emmy voter, on receiving DVDs of Netflix’s “House of Cards” as part of the lobbying efforts surrounding the awards nominations. The made-for-Netflix drama has become the first non-TV show to score top Emmy nominations, including best drama, lead actor in a drama series for Kevin Spacey and lead actress for Robin Wright.
It’s yet another feather in the comeback cap of Silicon Valley-based Netflix, which a couple of years ago seemed to be fighting for survival. Its shares — which last August closed at $53.91 — are up nearly 170 percent so far this year. They closed yesterday at $267.92.
The online (and DVD) entertainment provider, which has had a complicated relationship with Hollywood, cable and TV networks, is again shaking things up by financing shows made only for subscribers to its streaming service. As we wrote In April, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a lengthy mission statement that the company spends $2 billion a year on license deals and creating original shows. It reportedly spent $100 million for two seasons of “House of Cards.” Another original series, “Orange is the New Black,” began streaming last week. And Netflix has struck deals with studios such as DreamWorks to create other shows.
Netflix is definitely not your mother’s… um, TV network/cable network/entertainment provider. In a nod to what it and other online entertainment providers have wrought — binge viewing — the first season of “House of Cards,” 13 episodes of political intrigue, was made available in its entirety at the time of its debut in February. And as Mike Cassidy examined for SiliconBeat, Netflix used Big Data to figure out what it thought viewers would want to watch — so, as we’re finding out, “House of Cards” wasn’t such a risky bet after all.
But back to the primetime Emmys, which in 2008 announced it would allow online content to be nominated: “Arrested Development,” a sitcom that was canceled by the Fox TV network, rose again this year on Netflix. One of its stars, Jason Bateman, is nominated for lead actor in a comedy series.
Photo: Kevin Spacey in a scene from the Netflix original series, “House of Cards,” an adaptation of a British classic. (AP /Netflix, Melinda Sue Gordon)