Netflix's first high-profile foray into original content with Capitol Hill thriller "House Of Cards" is the most watched thing on Netflix right now, the company's chief content officer Ted Sarandos said at the D:Dive Into Media conference hosted by AllThingsD.
The success of "House Of Cards" bodes well for Netflix, whose venture into original content was seen by many as a daring move. Bloomberg's Mark Milian speculated that Netflix was attempting to challenge longtime rival HBO, whose original shows like "The Sopranos" were often star-studded successes. Other commentators like Variety's Andrew Wallenstien questioned whether Netflix's decision to "defy the medium's traditional weekly scheduling pattern" by releasing all 13 episodes at once would truly keep viewers hooked.
As in network television, much of Netflix's success ultimately depends on the quality of the content and the actors -- and Netflix won't always be able to remake a well-liked U.K. show, or, for that matter, have access to Kevin Spacey. Although Sarandos is apparently thrilled by the reception House Of Cards has received, he has declined to release the show's viewership numbers. “I don’t want to give ratings, because it is a real apples-to-oranges comparison with network ratings,” Sarandos said at the AllThingsD conference.
Netflix plans to premiere original horror series "Hemlock Grove" in April and resurrect the critically acclaimed television show "Arrested Development" in May, USA Today reports. The renewal of "Arrested Development" presumably serves as a boon to the comedy's fans who were disappointed when Fox canceled the original without a fourth season.
CORRECTION: The surname of Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was previously misspelled as "Santoros."
Earlier on HuffPost:
Don't Watch A Movie Without Rating It
When you finish a show or movie on Netflix, the site requests that you give it between one and five stars, based on how much you enjoyed it. You're not being asked to rate that content for kicks, or so that you can later reminisce about how much you liked a certain film: Rather, Netflix has spent many years improving its recommendation engine, even offering a $1 million prize for anyone who could up the accuracy of Netflix recommendations by 10 percent. At this point, the Netflix recommendation engine is pretty darn accurate -- it takes into account your own ratings as well as the viewing habits of those similar to you. Basically, the more films you rate, the more you're likely to enjoy a Netflix recommendation. If you constantly find yourself frustrated that there's nothing on Netflix, take a half hour or so and knock out a few hundred ratings on the "Taste Profile" section of the site, and make sure you've filled in your genre preferences, too. Finally, if Netflix persists in recommending a title that you're just never going to watch -- for me, that would be "The Lincoln Lawyer" -- remember that you can click on the "Not Interested" button on any film's homepage and it will disappear from your recommendations page while simultaneously smartening up your future recs. (For an in-depth look at the Netflix recommendation engine, and how it works, I recommend this post on Netflix's official blog.)
Don't Fly Blind
Leaning on Netflix's recommendations alone ensures that you'll discover some good flicks; if you're really committed to shaking all the leaves from the tree, however, you're going to need some backup artillery. There are several excellent extensions that you can add to your favorite browser to augment your Netflix experience and increase your chances of sniffing out a great new film. An extension like "Rotten Netflix," for example, inserts little Rotten Tomatoes scores beneath every movie poster on the website, so that you can instantly know how a movie fared with critics. Similarly, the "IMFlixDB" extension displays a movie's IMDB ranking on a white bar above the Netflix homepage and gives you quick access to that film's information page. The ever-prodigious members at Reddit use the wisdom of crowds, meanwhile, to constantly vote up streaming movies that you might otherwise miss. It's a super-active community with consistently high-quality recommendations: Check it out here.
Don't Let A Film Disappear
Another Netflix specialty website is InstantWatcher, a clean website that allows for easier movie search than you'll find on the Netflix homepage. And while many outlets toast InstantWatcher for its quick and robust search functionality, we like it because it also lists the notable films that will disappear from Netflix Instant soon. There's even a Twitter feed that does nothing but tweet out the names of soon-to-be-expired Netflix movies. There is no worse feeling, in the whole entire world, than sitting down to watch a movie you've had in your Netflix queue only to discover that the movie has disappeared. Don't let it happen to you again.
Don't Be Afraid To Quit
One of the really nice things about a Netflix subscription is that you pay month-by-month; it's not like a cell phone contract where you're locked in for two years and you have to pay an exorbitant fee if you want to get out early or cancel service. With Netflix, you can quit for one month and come back the next: Netflix will save your queue and ratings for up to two years so that if you do come back, you don't really have to start over. So, if you're taking a vacation, or studying for the LSATs, or going to prison, just cancel your account and save yourself the $8 for as long as you need. Or, if you are one of our Olympian Netflix bashers from above, go ahead and try life without the 'Flix for a month or two and see how you do. Your account information will be waiting for you when (or if) you return; and, hey, if you do, now you have plenty of new ways to find the excellent movies and TV shows you might have missed while in exile.