Tim Wu thinks that that House Of Cards “a typical product of our current golden age of television—dark, expertly directed and acted, and about five times better than the average Hollywood film”:

An Internet firm like Netflix producing first-rate content takes us across a psychological line. If Netflix succeeds as a producer, other companies will follow and start taking market share. Maybe Amazon will go beyond its tentative investments and throw a hundred million at a different A-list series, or maybe Hulu will expand its ambitions for original content, or maybe the next great show will come from someone with a YouTube channel. When that happens, the baton passes, and empire falls—and we will see the first fundamental change in the home-entertainment paradigm in decades.

How Yglesias understands Netflix’s investment in the series:

The thing is, House of Cards isn’t a gimmick to lure in new Netflix subscribers. After all, the people who are most interested in the show likely already have a Netflix subscription or know someone who does. What’s more, while I liked the show enough to watch 12 episodes over the course of two days, it’s not nearly good enough to be a reason all its own to become a Netflix subscriber. The show, then, is a sunk investment that Netflix is making in the hope that it will prop up its new brand identity and gain experience.

Earlier Dish on Netflix’s experiment here.