Netflix has handled an unexpected “release” of its much-anticipated third season of House of Cards with the slick self-assurance viewers have come to expect from Frank Underwood, the star of its multi award-winning drama.
Ten new episodes of the political thriller, which stars Kevin Spacey as conniving politico Underwood, were briefly made available to Netflix subscribers yesterday afternoon after a “technical glitch” saw them appear online two weeks before the official release of season three on 27th February.
Yet no sooner had fans tweeted their delight than the online streaming service removed them, just 25 minutes later…
House of Cards is back??? Yeeeeeeeesaaaa you little fecking dancer. No sleep tonight. Boom. I'm a professional.
— Eoin Macken (@eoincmacken) February 12, 2015
Netflix later released a statement, blaming an in-house error: “Due to a technical glitch some Frank Underwood fans got a sneak peek. He’ll be back on Netflix on Feb. 27 #no spoilers.”
The online streaming giant’s PR machine quickly swept into action. And as the lucky few were enjoying their unexpected premieres, the House of Cards’ official Twitter account put its own shrewd spin on events:
This is Washington. There’s always a leak. All 13 episodes will launch February 27.
— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) February 11, 2015
The House of Cards showrunner was quick to follow.
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) February 11, 2015
And so it was that a “glitch” quickly became talk of the internet for all the right reasons and a potential PR disaster became a huge marketing win.
It almost feels like the sort of thing Frank Underwood would have deliberately orchestrated from his new-found home in the West Wing…
House of Cards will be released in the UK and US on February 27th on Netflix