As the lines between Internet television and cable or satellite continue to blur, companies like Netflix, Hulu, AOL and Yahoo have begun to position themselves to replace traditional television. Similar to the early days of cable networks, these content providers have filled their "air time" with a back catalog of existing content while gaining momentum to allow them to produce original content themselves. Some of the big players have now gotten to that point.
Last Friday, Netflix announced the beginning of production on a new drama based on the book House of Cards. The series will star Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, with Fight Club director David Fincher as Executive Producer. Clearly Netflix is not holding back here and is really going for this.
Netflix isn't the only company starting high-profile custom content, however. To find out who else is joining the boat, hit the break.
Hulu, the joint venture between News Corp (Fox Television), Comcast (NBC Universal) and Walt Disney (ABC), has also produced an original series. The program, titled The Confession, is described as an action thriller and will star 24 star Keifer Sutherland in five to seven minute episodes. It premieres Monday, the same day that Hulu starts offering its Hulu Plus service for free to IE9 users. That can't be a coincidence.
We have seen companies produce web-only content in the past, but never on the scale we are witnessing here. Funny or Die, owned partially by Will Ferrell, has a lot of content starring him and others, like Charlie Sheen and his mind tools. While popular with young people, content producers like these have yet to turn any major profits. Many Internet content producers have closed up shop all together.
However, the times they are a changin'. Since the 3 major consoles can stream Netflix and are joined by Hulu Plus on platforms like Roku and Internet televisions, watching Internet-based programming is no different than sitting down in the living room to watch a program on NBC or Comedy Central. That is why Hulu and Netflix are beginning to think they are going to see a different result than Quarterlife.
So, are you ready to watch exclusive online content? If so, are you willing to pay a little extra for that content, like with Hulu Plus? Let us know in the comments section below.