Streaming television may never be the same again.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) began offering House of Cards, a big-budget political drama series, on Friday. The leading video service is reportedly spending $100 million for two seasons of the show, and it made all 13 episodes of the first season available at the same time.

In a clever move, Netflix is making the first episode available to non-subscribers for free this month. That's brilliant, in that if someone gets hooked on the first show, that person will probably subscribe for access to the rest of the season.

This could be streaming television's Joe Namath moment. This could be the programming event that legitimizes a medium that's clearly gaining in popularity but needs something like this to raise the level of quality instead of the current arms race for quantity.

Either way, Netflix distant competitors are paying attention. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is making waves this week by bankrolling several pilots for children-oriented programming.

Must-stream television!

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • The cloud's still delivering sunny growth. ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW), a cloud-based provider of IT services, saw its revenue climb 92% in its latest quarter. A lack of profitability remains a problem, but ServiceNow is targeting 60% top-line growth for the year ahead.
  • BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) changed its name from Research In Motion as it introduced new phones running on its bar-raising BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system. Come Monday it will change its ticker symbol, too.
  • Fusion-io (UNKNOWN:FIO.DL) stumbled after the data storage company provided uninspiring guidance. It was ugly. Fusion-io is eyeing $80 million in revenue this quarter, well off the $137 million that analysts had been targeting.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.