House of Cards, and newsjacking the Blackout Bowl

This was a pretty fun weekend for alternative media experiences.

Of course, House of Cards launched on Netflix, testing a new model of distribution, and the Super Bowl was interrupted by a 30-minute blackout, leading to a rush to “newsjack” the moment on social media.

What I like about both the Netflix move and the social media reaction to the Superbowl Blackout is that they are both attempts to deliver an experience in a way that matches the way people actually think & operate.

I love that Netflix is stripping the bullshit (false cliffhangers, false scarcity, annoying recaps) out of the show, and giving the show to people exactly in the way they like it — mainlined.  Netflix knows that lots of people like to watch TV this way: they practically invented it with the DVD business, and certainly have seen it from the inside via the streaming business.

I watched three episodes in a row on Friday night.  It’s good but not great, but I was still compelled to watch a bunch back to back, and am now basically hooked through the rest of the season.  More importantly, I’m definitely less likely to quit my netflix subscription (as I tend to do every few months) now.

With the Blackout Bowl, it was interesting to see which responses resonated the most on social media, and which didn’t.  In general, the brands that chose to make something timely & cute (pretty amazing, the speed with which Oreo created that) or say something clever rather than pimp their own ads did much better.  And as Mike Masnick notes, Oreo’s quick and clever reaction on twitter may have saved their superbowl, as their TV ad was weak

I just like — in both cases — the trend towards more authentic and net-native media experiences.  It’s great to see brands experimenting with / figuring out how to go with the flow of the net, rather than fight it.

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Nick Grossman

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