When it comes to streaming TV, usually the first thing people think of is Netflix. The streaming and rental service has helped change the game and push the world to embrace digital content with its catalog of movies and TV series right at our fingertips. Feel like watching episodes of the original Star Trek series? Netflix has you covered. From the obscure to the mainstream, Netflix never had any shortage of options... or at least that's how it used to be. The Netflix library has actually grown smaller, not bigger, over the years, while the price for the service has gone up.
Over the last four years, the Netflix library has decreased at an alarming rate. The folks over at Exstreamist have taken note of the drop and report that back in 2012 Netflix used to offer nearly 9,000 options for customers. Now (according to data from uNoGs) Netflix--at least in the United States--currently offers 5,100 movies and TV shows combined. That means that over the last four years there has been a 40% drop in offered content.
Netflix hasn't given subscribers a reason for why its options have steadily been dwindling, but there are probably a few reasons for the drop. In some instances, Netflix could simply have decided not to re-sign a certain contract if it wasn't getting enough views to justify its place in the library. It's also possible that third party content owners have sometimes pulled their titles or let deals expire. Over the years there has been a growing focus on digital content and plenty of companies have started clamoring for hot titles to stream. Hulu acquiring the exclusive rights to Seinfeld comes to mind and CBS has its own service for its catalogue of shows (meaning anything made by CBS will probably be leaving Netflix too). Plus, Netflix has been spending a lot more money on original programming, which means there is less money in the budget for syndicated content. Again, there could be lots of reasons for the drop.
Netflix isn't too worried about this drop or at the very least they have a good poker face. The company has stated that its main focus has been producing original content, which luckily makes them less reliant on third party content. Netflix has been producing its own shows for a few years now, most of which is very high quality, like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and BoJack Horseman. It's no doubt that these buzzworthy shows are a big draw for people. Netflix is also getting into the movie game, having signed a deal to produce Adam Sandler movies and having spent 90 million dollars to make a Will Smith movie. It can be argued, however, that the 90 million could have been spent to keep some third party titles around.
Even though Netflix gains plenty of titles each month, it's also losing old ones at the same time. Yeah, we can finally watch Jurassic Park or Back to the Future, but it comes at the expense of losing classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey and A League of Their Own. How do you feel about this 40% drop in titles? Do you want Netflix to focus more on original content or do you want it to return to the way things used to be? Sound off in the comments below.
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Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.