By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 14, 2013 at 3:18PM
And on Tuesday, the streaming service announced a new integration with Facebook that will make it even easier for people to find the Netflix content they want. It will allow Netflix to connect its U.S. subscribers to their Facebook friends to see what they’re watching. This is on top of the recommendation algorithms and all the big data that allowed Netflix to figure out that betting on a David Fincher/Kevin Spacey remake of favorite BBC series "House of Cards" would work. It did, even if the company spent no less than $3.8 million per episode--that was the least expensive hour in the 13 episode series. But it's their most-watched series to date.
Netflix isn't stopping in its hunt for content. That's where the new deal comes in for "The Killing," which stars Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman and new entry Peter Sarsgaard. Netflix will stream all 12 episodes of the third season of the Seattle crime noir just three months after AMC airs the finale, making binge viewers very happy. They have not announced the air date as yet.
"We're excited to see 'The Killing' back on TV and we're especially proud to bring Season 3 to our members so soon after it premieres on AMC," stated Netflix content officer Ted Sarandos. "'The Killing' is a terrific serialized drama and we know our members love these high-quality shows."
The new season --which began production last month--starts off one year after ex-detective Sarah Linden (Enos) closed the Rosie Larsen case. Needless to say her ex-partner Stephen Holder (Kinnaman) pulls her back in. The first two seasons of "The Killing" are already available via subscription VOD. AMC killed the show last summer but eventually opted to bring it back and ordered 12 episodes in January.
Netflix began its content experiment by streaming episodes of its first proprietary series "Lillyhammer" in early 2012, which played better on Norway's NRK network than the US. Expensive "House of Cards" made a much bigger splash. Part of how Netflix sells creative folks on making films with them is complete freedom from interference. I wonder how long they can afford to do that if that goes with no budget oversight.
Next up is a no-brainer, the return of "Arrested Development," which comes with a huge fan base, plus several comedies: a Brit import from Ricky Gervais, "Derek," "Orange is the New Black" and "Bad Samaritans."
Netflix has an aversion to marketing and involvement in production, so they're keeping a hands-off approach to these content deals. Netflix is banking that strong content will help to expand its 33 million subscribers. We still don't know if "House of Cards" had that effect.
Other companies are watching. Microsoft has set up a production studio in Santa Monica to develop content for the Xbox, reports Fortune. And Amazon Studios has modestly entered the original production fray. And there's also RedBox Instant By Verizon. The Golden Age of Cable is spurring competition.
As for the major studios, they are allowing this serious competition to encroach on declining movie audiences.