Forget, for a second, that Netflix's House of Cards represents a bold challenge to HBO, a salvo in the war on cable. Instead, focus on this simple fact, writes Derek Thompson at the Atlantic: "The market for super-deluxe-high-quality TV programming is getting deeper." This is, as has oft been stated, the "golden age of television." As movies descend into mediocrity, chasing franchise money, TV is in a race for high-quality content.
This race started in cable, where networks don't need to draw mass audiences; they just need shows so good that their audiences will riot if cable packages drop them. The result is a race for quality, not mass appeal. Now, Netflix has calculated that it needs what HBO needed when it launched this whole model: Something to increase its value in the eyes of non-subscribers. Which "means there's even more money in the market for lavish television," writes Thompson. "For every House of Cards auction, there is another bidder. For every auteur, there is another hand shaking money in her face." The result: Even more great TV. Read the full column here. (Read more television stories.)