Netflix Dropping Classics for Exclusive Content

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Netflix used to be a great thing. Has it become better? Netflix started out as a DVD rental company, in which they wanted to have every movie in their catalog. With technology changing, they had to do as well. So, they moved to streaming movies. Over the years, their catalog of streaming movies has grown, but Netflix has dropped many movies and TV series too. One week there is a movie or TV series the next it is gone. Get used to it.

Over the past year or so, Netflix has been shaking up its catalog of movies and television shows and even dropping classics like Goldfinger, Scarface and SpongeBob SquarePants. And the cuts will keep coming; analysts warn, even as Netflix spends over $2 billion for licensing rights over the next year. Older movies and TV shows that are available on cable and competing streaming services are most vulnerable.

They have moved to original content to capture those who aren’t already customers. With House of Cards grabbing 14 Emmy nominations, this being the first for Web only programming. Subscriber numbers are way up, and the company’s stock has almost tripled this year. With 30 million subscribers and the increase in their stock shows that they’re doing something right.

I don’t like the fact that some shows I wanted to watch or have and want to watch again aren’t there anymore. Just in the last year or so, Netflix has shed thousands of old movies, and last month it shed a ton of Viacom content. No more SpongeBob. What strategy does Netflix have by cutting content that people want? How will they get new subscribers or retain the ones they have? They do have a strategy behind the moves.

Executives have been telling investors that the company is modeling itself as the HBO for the Internet. “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us,” chief content officer Ted Sarandos told GQ in February. Shedding the old ways of wanting to have every movie on their roster is the new ideas that people want more movies that are current. That may be why Netflix let go of old movie deals from intermediaries Epix, in May, and Starz, last year. “What you hear people saying is that there aren’t enough current movies,” says David Tice, who follows the media and entertainment industries for Gfk.

Netflix has recently made a deal with Disney starting in 2016, after Disney’s current contract is up with Starz. Netflix will be getting Disney movies first not cable. This is the kind of exclusive Netflix is looking for under their new strategy. Netflix ended its deal with A&E Networks last year because with what a survey found with Gfk that more people want dramas and comedy not reality-based shows. Netflix is working on getting more content that is exclusive because they feel that it is far more valuable than getting their catalog full of what is popular.

Netflix last month struck a deal with Dreamworks Animation, that they will create children’s shows for the streaming service that will be exclusive. Of course creating with new content with stable established characters from the DreamWorks roster.

More than 12% of Netflix subscribers said they signed up because of the original programming, and another 8% said they would have canceled but for the new shows, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. customers last month by Wedbush Securities. And Netflix may end up cutting some junk shows viewers actually want to see, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter points out. “People who watch TV watch some quality content and a lot of crap — we value the crap as filler,” Pachter says. “As Netflix refines its quality offering, it is arguable that people will actually miss some of the crap. We’ll see.”

With network TV going the way of low-cost reality shows and series Netflix might just win out in a few years. Nevertheless, I know for one I’m going to cancel because what I want is no longer avabliable. I will have to see if they make it worth my coming back, but that might take some time.

By: Forrest L. Rawls
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