Netflix Inc said on Friday it has secured exclusive rights to the 26-episode television series House of Cards, in what signaled a move away from its traditional role of merely licensing movies and TV shows.

The company said that House of Cards, a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher, would debut exclusively on Netflix in the United States and Canada beginning in late 2012. The TV series is a remake of the BBC miniseries of the same name.

No details were given for the value of the deal, reports of which first surfaced earlier this week.

The gripping, serialized one-hour drama has become a very important part of the Netflix experience, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

David Fincher's unique vision, the indelible performances of Kevin Spacey and the original version of 'House of Cards,' all have a big following among our members, giving the series a very good chance of becoming a fan favorite. We are thrilled to be working with this amazing team, he added.

Netflix has over 20 million subscribers. A move to option original programing is expected to change the way Netflix is seen in Hollywood, as it becomes a competitor of major cable TV players like Time Warner Inc's HBO, CBS Corp's Showtime and Cablevision System Corp's AMC.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Gerald E. McCormick)