Netflix: The next HBO?

Netflix reportedly wants first rights to House of Cards, a new television program starring Kevin Spacey.

Netflix is reportedly close to acquiring a television show called House of Cards, which would be available exclusively to Netflix members.

Netflix really wants to be the next HBO. That's the news today from, which reports Netflix is close to acquiring first rights to a new television program called House of Cards. The drama stars Kevin Spacey; the director is David Fincher, the Oscar-nominated auteur behind The Social Network.

"I hear Netflix landed the drama project by offering a staggering commitment of two seasons, or 26 episodes," Andreeva writes. "Given that the price tag for a high-end drama is in the $4 million – $6 million an episode range and that a launch of a big original series commands tens of millions of dollars for promotion, the deal is believed to be worth more than $100 million and could change the way people consume TV shows."

Netflix, which recently rolled out a streaming-video-only option for the US market, has faced increased pressure in recent months from rivals such as Hulu and Hulu Plus, a premium subscription service. Hulu Plus allows users to stream content to mobile devices; Hulu Plus members can also access a 720p high-definition feed – a much higher resolution than traditional Hulu videos.

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Meanwhile, Warner Bros recently announced it would sell streaming content directly through its Facebook page. The first movie to launch on the Warner Brothers Facebook page was "The Dark Knight." Renting it costs about $3, and the film remains available for 48 hours. More films are expected to become available this month; the Facebook movie initiative has widely been viewed as a threat to Netflix and Hulu.

A television show exclusive to Netflix would help give the company a leg-up over its competitors. "They're sort of taking a page out of the playbook that HBO and Showtime used," said Sam Craig, director of the Entertainment, Media and Technology program at NYU Stern School of Business, told ABC News.

Curious about the increasing popularity of online video? Check out the Monitor's article on the future of TV. In the meantime, if you haven't done so already – and plenty of you already have – sign up for the Innovation newsletter, which is emailed out every Wednesday morning.

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