3 Ways to Explain the 'House of Cards' Leak on Netflix, Inc. (NFLX)

Somehow, new episodes of 'House of Cards' were released early on Netflix, Inc. (NFLX). Who's to blame?

by Josh Selway

Published on Feb 12, 2015 at 1:29 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:10 PM

On Wednesday, word spread like wildfire that the new season of "House of Cards" was on Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX). The problem is, Season 3 wasn't supposed to be released until Friday, Feb. 27. NFLX quickly stepped in and pulled the shows, and then displayed some cleverness on social media:

The company also put to rest any notion that it leaked the episodes on purpose for publicity's sake. Instead, there was supposedly just a "technical glitch" that sent the shows live. This is probably true, but it's my duty to refuse simple explanations and promote wild scenarios in their place. So, here are three ways "House of Cards" Season 3 could have ended up on Netflix, Inc.

  1. Confused Intern

    If you've ever been an intern, you know it can be intimidating. You're just trying to find your place in the world, but all your superior does is make you shovel his driveway and vacuum his car's interior -- or maybe that was just in my case. Anyway, it's always fun to blame things on interns, so one possibility is that little Scott was trying to add some code -- or whatever NFLX employees do -- to the new adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh in the site's database when -- BAM -- he accidently posts the company's original drama for thousands to see. He hurriedly retraces his steps, and smiles, thinking no one noticed.

    Then he gets fired.

  2. Disgruntled Employee

    Employee A is upset because his new idea for the company -- delivering popcorn straight to subscribers' homes -- was rejected. This was his shot to move up, to advance his career. He'd been working on the popcorn idea for months, ironing out the logistics. As payback for the rejection, he hits the "Live" button for "House of Cards" and then walks out the door, gets in his 2002 Volkswagen Jetta, and drives off.

    The company adopts the popcorn idea once he's gone.

  3. Netflix did do it on purpose

    Why not? Now, plenty of people were already waiting in intense anticipation for the Season 3 release, but maybe NFLX decided to create some extra buzz a couple weeks in advance. Some people, like my friend Dave, even got to watch an entire episode.
    (Please ignore my misspelling of "worse" and his use of the word "epic.") So, what do you think Dave's going to be thinking about from now until Feb. 27? "House of Cards" and only "House of Cards" -- just as Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) wanted.

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