Remember when Netflix was strictly in the movie business? I mean, it’s right there in the name – Flix. But like any great business, the company began to grow and look to new ways of entertaining audiences on a nightly basis. Or ending humanity for others.
In 2012, Netflix released Lilyhammer, its first original television show. All eight episodes dropped at the same time and people didn’t know what to do. I think most (including me) just decided not to watch it. Didn’t it star some guy from The Sopranos?
Their first real big show then was House of Cards in 2013. It was one of the first binge-worthy series because it was one of the first shows you could binge without getting off your couch to change DVDs. By the end of 2014, they had four original shows plus a number of licensed series from other television networks. But movies were still the top priority.
In fact, according to Streaming Observer, Netflix had 6,494 films available to stream in 2014. Today, however, that number is 3,849, which is a 40 percent drop. Netflix essentially monopolized the market so they held the rights to movies and television shows from multiple networks and studios. But those same networks and studios realized they too could launch their own streaming services and hold on to their exclusive content. Thus, Netflix loses movie titles year by year because of competitors like Hulu, Amazon Prime and the new kids on the block: Apple TV+ and Disney Plus.
They’ve also made a concerted effort to focus on original content. Netflix currently has 152 TV shows available to stream. And their original library is getting better and better with stuff like Stranger Things, Mindhunter and Ozark. It’s all about exclusivity, though. I can only watch Fleabag if I have Amazon Prime. How about The Mandalorian on Disney Plus? I heard there’s a baby Yoda in it. And I can see it if I have Disney’s streaming service. Or if I “borrow” someone’s password.
Of course, the library of movies on Netflix constantly move in and out as deals expire. So, in theory, the number of titles should stay the same. But in reality, it looks like it’s decreasing due to competitors and a focus on fresh new content.