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Netflix’s movie library is shrinking as company remains focused on original TV content

Published Dec 3rd, 2019 7:37PM EST
Netflix Movies
Image: Olly Curtis/Future/Shutterstock

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As Netflix continues to pour billions of dollars into developing original content, the company’s once gargantuan library of movies continues to shrink. Hardly a surprise, Netflix executives have made it clear that their ultimate goal is to lessen their reliance on third-party content as much as possible. Just a few years ago, for example, Netflix CFO David Wells said that Netflix eventually wants 50% of all TV shows and movies available on its site to be original content.

In light of that, Netflix hasn’t been afraid to let big licensing deals with movie studios expire. Most famously, Netflix in 2015 opted not to renew a licensing deal with Epix, a decision which saw the streaming giant lose thousands of movies, including top-tier titles such as The Wolf of Wall Street and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. All told, Netflix’s selection of movies has been shrinking drastically over the past few years.

Touching on this in more detail, the Streaming Observer recently took a close look at Netflix’s movie catalog and found that the number of available titles has fallen by a whopping 40% over the past 5 years.

In March 2014, the US Netflix library had 6,494 movies you could stream. In March 2016, that number had dropped rapidly to 4,335 films, and as of November 20, 2019, the Netflix movie catalog is down to 3,849 titles.

Going back even further, Netflix in 2010 housed nearly 7,000 movie titles.

While a library of close to 4,000 movie titles is nothing to scoff at, there’s no denying that the volume of top-tier movies has gone down considerably in recent years. Further, it stands to reason that the number of movie titles will continue to go down as rivals start removing more titles from Netflix as licensing deals expire.

The upside is that Netflix continues to pour billions of dollars into developing a seemingly endless number of new TV shows and movies. This month alone, for example, will see Netflix introduce 53 new original movies and TV shows, a list which can be viewed in its entirety over here.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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