Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Buy Netflix’s “House of Cards” on Amazon

Perhaps you’ve heard that Netflix is showing “House of Cards,” a new TV series starring Kevin Spacey.

But maybe you don’t have an $8-a-month Netflix subscription, or don’t want to try the service’s free one-month trial. Or maybe you just don’t like streaming video.

Here’s your answer: You can buy the series, on DVD, this summer. From Amazon, Netflix’s most serious video rival.

This isn’t a cost-effective solution — the series’ first 13 episodes will cost $44.96 on standard DVD, and $52.99 on Blu-ray — but presumably some of you will find value in a physical object. (For one thing, you can re-sell your discs.) UPDATE: We should also note that Netflix subscribers with DVD plans will also be able to get the series that way.

The bigger (but smallish) point here is that even though this is a series commissioned for and funded by Netflix, it still isn’t Netflix’s series.

Netflix’s money bought it an exclusive first “window” to stream the show. But Media Rights Capital, which actually produced the show, has the rights to sell it in other venues; Sony is handling distribution duties in the U.S. and abroad.

That is to say: While “House of Cards” is different in many ways from traditional TV, it’s also quite similar — you’ll see that kind of set-up up and down your TV guide.

And you’ll see it again with other Netflix original programming: The new season of “Arrested Development” that debuts next month, for instance, is owned by News Corp.’s Fox studio (News Corp. also owns this website).

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald