MipTV: ‘House of Cards’ Travels Well Overseas

U.S. online hit "House of Cards" is a frequent flyer offline in dozens of countries -- and counting

Rep. Francis Underwood is on quite the worldwide whirlwind tour.

While the politician protagonist of “House of “Cards” rarely left Capitol Hill during the first season of the Netflix original series, he’s racking up plenty of airline miles in the international TV market. That should continue coming out of the MipTV conference, where Japan is likely to be among the next round of buyers expected to snap up “Cards”.

Since its Feb. 1 premiere on the streaming service, the series has been sold in dozens of countries by Sony Pictures Television, which is handling international sales for “Cards” producer Media Rights Capital. “Cards” was released that way in all territories where the streaming service is available, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Latin America, and Scandinavia.

“Because the two-season commitment (from Netflix) was there from the beginning, buyers knew that this would have enduring value for them,” says Keith LeGoy, president of international distribution at SPT. “So that is also new for buyers.”

“Cards” provides an early example that overseas TV nets are ready to buy from non-traditional auspices.

“I do think it’s a gamechanger,” said Gary Lico, president/CEO of program development and global distribution firm CableReady. “It shows if you have a strong concept, you don’t have to through the usual gatekeepers.”

Netflix made the unprecedented move of releasing 13 episodes at once of the series, which stars Kevin Spacey as the corrupt congressman. “What we and Sony Intl. Television conveyed to buyers is that Netflix has as many subscribers as HBO, and viewing can be non-linear since we’re posting (many) episodes all at once,” says Asif Satchu, CEO and co-founder of Media Rights Capital.

Jim Packer, prexy of worldwide TV and digital distribution at Lionsgate, thinks series like “Cards” are here to stay, but he worries about an unintended impact that binge viewing might have on audience momentum.

“My only hesitation is that it’s over quick,” Packer says, in a sentiment echoed by others. “You don’t get the week-to-week buzz building when 13 episodes are available all at once.”

While domestic TV ratings is ordinarily a telling barometer for gauging buyer interest abroad, Netflix doesn’t publicize such numbers. But the series is off to a good start in telecasts already on two multichannel TV platforms overseas.

After premiering Feb. 4 in a weekly Monday 9 p.m. slot on Sky Deutschland’s Sky Atlantic channel, a German-dubbed “Cards” consistently ranks in the top 10 in audience viewing for the week (Sky Atlantic carries upmarket Hollywood imports such as HBO originals). In addition, episodes are available on streaming service Sky Go and VOD platform Sky Anytime.

“”House of “Cards” was a no-brainer in terms of fit,” says Sky Deutschland exec programming veep Gary Davey. “It had that high quality and big event programming feel to it. It has the style, production value and the quality of the casting.”

“Cards” launched Feb. 21 on Canal Plus Spain’s Canal+1, where it has become “one of our most watched series, only behind big series such as Game of Thrones and some Spanish original productions,” says a rep for the channel. “We are very happy with the results, both in terms of consumption and the buzz that the series has generated.”

“Cards” is likely among just the first of a growing tide of online programming to be highlighted at MipTV’s digital-centric track, MipCube.

More Biz

  • Studio Babelsberg

    Terminated 'Matrix 4,' 'Uncharted' Film Crews Demand Help From Studio Babelsberg

    Germany’s Studio Babelsberg is seeking to find a settlement with hundreds of film crew members following the shutdown earlier this month of Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix 4” and Sony Pictures’ “Uncharted” amid the coronavirus outbreak. The production stop has left many independent film crew members without pay and more than 300 have formed a working [...]

  • 20190702_788LCDP_S4_tamaraarranz_DSC_9303.nef

    Spanish TV Industry Adjusts to Harsh Realities of the Coronavirus Crisis

    The Spanish TV industry has been shaken by the dramatic impact of the coronavirus crisis, but it is fighting back. Industry players have reacted fast, pushing forward with development, post-production and other business activities using online tools, and with the expectation of supporting funds from both public and private initiatives that will mitigate the effects [...]

  • Bob Chapek Bob Iger Disney

    Bob Iger to Give Up Salary, Other Senior Disney Executives to Take Pay Cuts

    Disney has joined the list of companies implementing sizable pay cuts for senior executives amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis. Bob Iger, who shifted from chairman-CEO to executive chairman last month, has opted to forgo his salary for the year. Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as CEO, has taken a 50% pay cut. [...]

  • Universal Music Group

    Universal Music Group Announces Coronavirus-Relief Initiatives

    Universal Music Group today announced several initiatives to bring relief to musicians, its employees and the music industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that in a short time has devastated so much of the global economy. It also pledged to assist its artists in their charitable efforts The non-UMG effort comes in the [...]

  • Dubai Expo

    Expo Dubai, Scheduled for October, Set to Be Postponed

    The highly anticipated Expo Dubai is expected to be postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic. A formal announcement about the world fair — which showcases the arts, business and technology — is expected shortly, following meetings between U.A.E. officials and representatives of 192 participating countries. On Monday, the event’s steering committee convened [...]

  • Tiger King

    Global Content Trends Reveal Unscripted Boom, Surge in Female-Led Dramas

    Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, during which millions of self-isolating individuals are tuning into home entertainment, the trends shaping global content have never been more evident. Recent findings by London-based media research firm Ampere Analysis, which delivered a presentation as part of virtual event MIPTV Plus, reveals an unscripted boom among streamers (best [...]

  • MIDEM 2020 Conference Cancelled, Reboots as

    MIDEM 2020 Conference Cancelled, Reboots as Digital Edition

    Reed MIDEM announces that Midem 2020, which was due to take place June 2-5 in Cannes, is cancelled due to concerns about the coronavirus. The next edition of Midem will take place June 1-4, 2021, in Cannes, the organization said. “The situation related to the coronavirus is changing daily, as are government announcements and restrictions. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content