Static: Streaming video went widescreen in 2013

George Lang: Streaming video started out its big year with the Feb. 1 arrival of Netflix' first original series, the David Fincher-produced “House of Cards.”
BY GEORGE LANG glang@opubco.com Published: December 23, 2013
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This was the year that streaming media started mainstreaming.

Think of it like the history of television itself: sure, there were broadcasts as early as the 1920s and TVs made a big splash at the 1938 World's Fair, but most people weren't on board until Milton Berle and “Texaco Star Theater” in 1948.

In terms of public acceptance and mass expansion of streaming video, 2013 is the medium's 1948.

This is Year One.

The main story, of course, was the rapid rise of Netflix as a go-to outlet for video.

The service started out its big year with the Feb. 1 arrival of Netflix' first original series, the David Fincher-produced “House of Cards.”

Just 10 months later, with “Orange is the New Black,” “Hemlock Grove” and the fourth season of “Arrested Development” in its queues, not to mention successful forays into stand-up comedy with Aziz Ansari and Marc Maron, Netflix changed the conversation about the very nature of television programming in the next decade.

Binge viewing was around thanks to box sets and DVRs, but Netflix made it easy.

But Amazon Prime also made huge inroads in the online streaming market in 2013, staging its first “pilot season” in the spring and green-lighting two half-hour comedies out of that batch, “Alpha House” and “Betas.” Prime also made some huge power grabs, including exclusive second-run rights to CBS' “The Good Wife” and next-day streaming of the network's summer series, “Under the Dome” through its relationship with Viacom — a deal that took all Nickelodeon content away from Netflix and drove millions of kids to Prime in search of “SpongeBob SquarePants.”