How "House Of Cards" Producer Dana Brunetti Knew The Netflix Model Would Win

What once seemed crazy now seems visionary: Release an entire season of a TV show and let fans binge to their heart's content. Here's why Dana Brunetti knew it was the right move, both for creative and business reasons.

For House of Cards producer Dana Brunetti, Netflix—which wasn't even doing original content when he started shopping the show around—was an afterthought.

In fact, Brunetti told Fast Company it was a "B team" that initially met with Netflix while he and House of Cards star Kevin Spacey were in London. When Netflix bought the rights to distribute the show and signed on for two seasons on the spot, without even seeing a pilot, Brunetti first had to convince his colleagues that it was the best move. Then, he realized it was an opportunity to rethink how it would be released.

"We had sort of kicked around that maybe we’ll do it in chunks. Because a big concern was the way the audience consumes and the water-cooler talk, and whether or not that would really sustain the life of the show. Do you just get a big hit and (then) everyone kind of fizzles away?"

The decision to release 13 episodes in one fell swoop was questioned by many in the industry, but Brunetti tells Fast Company it was the best possible outcome from a creative and business standpoint.

"A lot of people said we were crazy going into Netflix and were like, 'What is this? Why would you do that?'" Brunetti recalled. "But there’s a lot of big names now in the industry that come and sit on this couch and ask me, 'How do I get into Netflix?'"

Play the video to learn more about how the Netflix model helped generate buzz and endear audiences to House of Cards (and get ready to binge watch again on February 14th when all of Season 2 is released).

Related: "House Of Cards" Producer Dana Brunetti On What Hollywood Can Teach Startups About Collaboration

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5 Comments

  • Your headline is inappropriate.. obviously Brunetti didn't "know Netflix would be a win" or else he'd have sent the "A" team to speak with them.

    The cinematography has fallen way down in Season Two of House of Cards. I noticed, because I'm a filmmaker.

    I came here looking for advice for how to get my film on Netflix.. you haven't really even told us how House of Cards got onto NetFlix.

    What a non-informative article you've written here.

  • Love the show and love the fact that you release an entire season at one time. The only downside is that when you binge-watch the entire season in one day, now you have to wait an entire year for a new season. UGH! Keep them coming. Great writing.l #1Fan

  • I totally get why going with Netflix was an innovative approach and that people are totally coming to expect on demand content across the board, but I still don't get why they chose to go with the single shot release of all 13 episodes. I don't doubt that the show's been a success because it's so good, but I still would have thought the risk of spoilers would have been an issue with fans of the show talking about it in social media. Or even, as mentioned, at the "water cooler." But why not release the episodes on a rolling basis?

  • Josh Mellette

    Its proof that the form as it is must change. The story will remain forever, it's only the medium in which its told that changes. You have to anticipate how binge viewing has changed the actual personal experience and think bigger and more long term as story and presentation goes.

  • Josh Mellette

    When the world is its own thriving independent consciousness and you choose not to jump on board with humanity, you will die as a corporate entity. Seeing old Hollywood operate today is like watching an adult who can not grasp the fact that Santa Clause isnt real. Online monetezation is what the people will have with or without your dumb corporate assess. (not you FC)