My Free Marketing Newsletter

How to Guarantee Success like the show House of Cards

Recently after returning from India I stumbled upon the show House of Cards.

Hours later and after a few empty sparkling waters I was nearly finished with all 13 episodes.

It got me thinking how the hell did they create such a bad ass show…

If you were going to spend $100 million making a show like that I’m guessing you’d want to know it works before you spend that money.

One of the MOST common mistakes of wantrepreneurs and marketers is to hope that things will work. They usually don’t 🙁

They miss out on working backwards from what people want AND using their natural skills to their advantage.

Netflix did both with this show.

But HOW did they guarantee it will be a success?

Netflix has 20 million plus subscribers that watch millions of hours of shows.

  1. They KNOW what people love to watch.
  2. They KNOW the actors people are really into.
  3. They KNOW the plots of shows and what people respond to.


Taking those components and analyzing a bunch of data they came out with House of Cards.

It’s no surprise the show is a massive success.

Netflix didn’t just randomly drop a ton of money to create their own content, they worked backwards from what they know already works.

Before you just start randomly trying to create a business or do marketing, look around to what you already have available.

What’s your favorite tv-show?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 responses to “How to Guarantee Success like the show House of Cards”

Teresa Libera
March 31, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Have you seen Fortitude on Amazon Prime?

January 26, 2016 at 11:58 am

Boardwalk Empire

October 13, 2015 at 12:11 am

Very good point, when starting from scratch with new take what are your methods for gathering data?

Thank you

Ryan Howard
October 15, 2014 at 9:33 am

I have just started getting into Californication on Netflix. Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Parts Unknown are both amazing programs, too.

Tim Gray
August 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Great approach Noah, and I completely agree. So many marketers forget why they’re doing what they’re doing and only do what they usually do, or what usually works. Keeping the why in mind and backwards working it works so much better. Thanks for another great post!

July 22, 2014 at 6:57 am

netflix know because they have years gathering the data. What would be the 20% of effort or steps that I need to take in order to gather the info from scratch?

Thai Wood
November 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

Great point about working backwards, but as you said Netflix has lots and lots of data.

Any tips for those without large/historical data sources?

July 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Noah, watch Breaking Bad!

May 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm


Great blog post! I love House of Cards too however it is actually a remake/adaptation of the 1990s British TV programme (also called “House of Cards”). Your comments all apply but in this case they have done the old Hollywood classic of remaking a popular original from the past and adding a modern twist. The old HoC was recently named one of the best British TV programmes of all time. I think it is pretty naughty the way Netflix keeps calling it “original content”. The storyline follows the original pretty faithfully but transplants the action to Washington. The original character is arguably more sinister. You should check it out.

Walt W
May 9, 2013 at 6:56 am

This show was like crack. You can’t wait for the next hit but then you are amiss when you have finished it all. I think I made it last for 3 days. I had no idea they had reversed engineered it. I can’t wait for the next season of Arrested Development. That show was cancelled so many people discovered it for the first time via Netflix, Netflix is producing another season. I think quality in house productions is what brought HBO back from the dead years ago and it’s what Netflix will utilize to do the same.

Have you seen the new Amazon Pilots? They have about 12-15 single pilots that you can watch for free with Prime. Users vote and based on that they will make the winners into seasons. That really takes your motto of spending and testing to the extreme. Old school broadcast had to pay for at least 6 episodes. Plus with Amazon reviews they get in depth user feedback for free.

I’m starting to like the user interface on Amazon Instant more and more vs Netflix. The hardest part of Netflix is filtering everything. I end up spending 1 hour just to find a good movie. This is the other reason I love finding good shows. If you find one you like you might have stumbled upon 10-100 hours of viewing time before you have to search again, vs 1.5-3 hours per movie. In depth character development during a TV season is huge too. I believe HBO set an excellent present by making the 12 episode season vs drawing out a story for 20-24 episode. Their is more crap than ever on cable but their is also the best ever, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, SOA, Always Sunny.

The key is the filter. He who makes the best quick filter will have a real tool on his hands in this day of to many instant choices.



April 15, 2013 at 8:15 am

Thanks Noah,

Remember how I used to actually write posts for your blog too? A century or two ago. Fun times!

Maybe I should write a few more, if you’re ok with it. I got some ideas that your blog followers would find interesting.

Let me know,

April 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Can’t wait for season 2 of House of Cards.

Scandal is not unlike House of Cards.

Also, check out Californication, Justified, The Following,

Noah Kagan
April 14, 2013 at 9:31 am

Holy crap it’s been forever since I’ve seen you comment mate. Been quite a few years for us both 🙂

Welcome back!

April 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Just finished Season 1. I think Spacey’s right in claiming that TV shows are much more immersive than movies because of character development and engaging plots.

Apart from House of Cards, Suits and Fringe are awesome.

Free Weekly
Marketing Newsletter

Join 100k+ subscribers to the Free Weekly Marketing Newsletter for insider tips, cutting-edge strategies, and personal tool recommendations.
Arrow right
Arrow down
All tactics. No fluff. Action Takers Only 🚀