Netflix catalog tracker AllFlicks reported that the video streaming giant had 6,494 movies and 1,609 TV shows in its U.S. catalog in January 2014. But in the last two years, those numbers have dropped to 4,335 movies and 1,197 shows, indicating a 33% drop in movies and a 26% drop in TV shows. So if you have noticed that the number of movies and TV shows on Netflix has been diminishing in recent years, you are right.
Netflix catalog continues to shrink: Why?
Although the report is not complete on details, there are a few reasons the streaming giant’s catalog is shrinking. Business Insider reports that the streaming giant has given priority to exclusivity, both in terms of its original series and exclusive content: titles it had licensed and hence are not available on other platforms like Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Netflix is planning to release about 31 original shows in 2016 (doubling its annual output from 2015). Though the streaming giant does not release viewer metrics, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said that last year, more than 3 million people watched its original movie Beasts of No Nation.
Also Netflix and Amazon dominated this year’s Sundance Film Festival, proving to be a formidable enemy to traditional theatrical distributors.
One source at a theatrical distributor told Vanity Fair, “We are shooting bullets, but Netflix and Amazon are using machine guns.”
Compensating with original shows and movies
The streaming space is very crowded with players like Hulu, Amazon Prime and many others bidding for the streaming rights for the same shows, thus driving up the prices. But Netflix has invested in its own programming, so it may not be taking part in these bidding wars. The streaming giant looks quite content with its shows and seems to think that its original and exclusive content, particularly Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards, will keep customers paying for its service.
Hence, even when Netflix’s catalog might continue to get smaller, its own cache of original movies and TV shows will continue to increase over time.
Last year, CEO Reed Hastings said, “The more we have incredible value, the more we have amazing originals, then we are going to be able to ask consumers for more to be able to invest more.”