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House of Cards 3 launching in Asia same day as US

House of CardsThe latest season of Netflix original series House of Cards will launch on the RTL CBS Asia Entertainment HD channel on the same day as in the US.

All thirteen instalments of season three of the Kevin Spacey political drama launch on Netflix on February 28. RTL CBS Asia has taken regional rights and will air all episodes on its linear service in a ‘watchathon’ that starts on the same day.

The binge viewing session will start at 4pm local time and offer the series in high definition and with local subtitles. After the initial run of consecutive episodes, the series will repeated in more traditional weekly instalments, in a Wednesday at 9.55pm slot.

“We are extremely happy to be able to bring all 13 chapters (episodes) of the latest season of House of Cards to audiences in the region on the same day the series is released in the US,” said Jennifer Batty, executive VP Programming, RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network. “This shows our commitment to bringing programs as close to their original release dates as possible.”

Several pay TV channels in Asia have taken steps to move the local TX of acquired US series as close as possible to  the US, in part to mitigate the effects of piracy. These initiatives are often focused on serialised shows such as House of Cards, which tend to be the most downloaded.

“As a TV network, we have taken a bold and unique step to air the complete series in the same way as it premieres in the US,” said Jonas Engwall, CEO, RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network.  “We are confident of giving audiences in the region a fantastic TV viewing experience and we believe this will curb alternative and illegal sources for the series that historically have been used.”

MRC produces House of Cards for Netflix and Sony Pictures Television sells it internationally. It is widely considered to be a ‘hit’ for Netflix although in the absence of any viewing data, the only certainty is that it has generated a huge amount of publicity for the streaming service.