If Netflix’s movie selection struck you as being a bit lean lately, well it’s not just in your head. A report from AllFlicks has found Nextflix has 33 percent fewer movies and 26 percent fewer television shows -- that’s going from 4,335 films and 1,197 shows this week compared to 6,494 films and 1,609 TV shows in January 2014.
TIME points out that the company did not renew its deal with movie channel Epix last year, and competitors (e.g. Hulu and Amazon) are grabbing exclusive rights to programming as well. That said, Netflix may no longer need as much licensed content, since it is producing critically acclaimed and audience-approved content like House of Cards, Narcos, and Orange is the New Black.
“The data proves that selection is shrinking, but it doesn’t say anything about why,” writes AllFlicks. “A good guess is the growing competition in the streaming space: with services like Hulu and Amazon Prime all bidding on streaming rights, the price is bound to rise. That helps explain why Netflix’s record investments in content have yielded smaller and smaller catalogs with each passing year. Looking at the competition would also help explain why Netflix is investing heavily in original series (which would also, of course, be exclusives) – and why competitors like Amazon are doing the same thing. Of course, Netflix fans may argue that the high spending has yielded quality rather than quantity of shows and movies.”
Last year, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos admitted that its programming strategy is not focused on licensing.
“Right now, our original programming spend has been more efficient dollar for dollar” than licensed content, he said, reports Variety. “On the original content programming side, our appetite has only grown… we’re moving (spending) from efficient to super-efficient.”
While Netflix’s game-plan may be under wraps, it seems to be successful: AllFlicks found that Netflix got almost 12 million new subscribers in the past two years in the United States.