Netflix users have started to notice that the world’s biggest streaming service just isn’t what it used to be.
At first, it was the simple removal of a popular TV show like ‘King of the Hill’ (not that we’re still bitter about that). Then we saw hundreds of movies removed all at once in a big culling, either because Netflix didn’t re-sign a contract or third party content owners have pulled the titles from the service, first rare, but seemingly more common.
Over the past four years Netflix has seen a massive decline in the number of titles available to stream through their service. At our last count, with numbers pulled from uNoGS, Netflix in the US currently has just over 5,100 movies and TV shows available. Back towards the end of 2012 and early 2013, according to sources formerly at Netflix, the title count was nearly 9,000, meaning we have seen the total title count drop over 40% in the past four years.
Several years ago it was nearly impossible to pick something to watch on Netflix because the options seemed endless. Now it seems like there just isn’t that much to choose from.
Even over the past few months, we’ve been tracking these numbers and have seen a consistent decline in title counts in the US. While other countries are expanding a bit as Netflix opens the service globally, some countries like Germany have seen a near 15% decline in total title count in just the past three months.
Interestingly, Netflix doesn’t seem too concerned with this new direction, at least on the surface.
Netflix executives have stated numerous times that their new intention is to build a massive library of original shows and movies in order to keep their subscribers happy with the available title list. If they’re able to do so, they will be far less reliant on third party content owners, who while once seemed far more friendly to Netflix, have gotten a lot stingier with their movies and TV shows as Netflix has risen in popularity.
We recently took a survey asking whether or not Netflix subscribers would prefer Netflix spent more budget on existing content or would prefer Netflix focused on more originals. It was pretty evenly split with 54% saying they wanted “the old Netflix back.” And while this isn’t much of a decisive response, most concerning might be the growing trend in people less and less happy with their existing Netflix selections. Several years ago it was nearly impossible to pick something to watch on Netflix because the options seemed endless. Now it seems like there just isn’t that much to choose from.
It is important to note, though, that Netflix is rarely in control when big content owners pull their content from the service. But certainly, there’s an argument to be made that when Netflix is paying 90 million dollars for a Will Smith movie, they could be using that money instead on existing movies and TV shows (seriously, King of the Hill, please Netflix).
What do you think? Have you noticed the Netflix library drastically decreasing? Have you found enough entertainment out of the Netflix originals to keep you happy? Let us know in the comments.