Netflix has been shaking up both the TV and movie industry for a good handful of years now. What started as a DVD, mail-delivery rental service has become the world's largest streaming service and a prime destination for great, original TV and movies. But one thing that may start to become more and more clear is that Netflix's once truly massive library has started to shrink tremendously.

As reported by Exstreamist, the streaming service has seen a 40 percent decline in available titles over the last four years. In 2012, Netflix had around 9,000 titles available for their subscribers to choose from. As of now, the service is down to just over 5,100, which is a very significant drop-off. Much of the reason for the drop-off is that third-party content owners have become less willing to license content to the company.

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Another big reason for the change is that Netflix has been pouring a lot of their focus into developing their own original shows and movies. Daredevil, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and even the Full House revival Fuller House have been massively successful for the service, with most of their titles being received well by critics. In the last year or so, they have been making a bigger push into original movies as well, with Beasts of No Nation last year and their recent $90 million commitment to the Will Smith Sci-Fi movie Bright, which will be directed by David Ayer.

In the last four years, streaming services have been popping up left and right, with HBO NOW really taking off, Amazon investing heavily in their streaming service and Hulu really stepping up their game in the movie department. That is just a fraction of the streaming service providers out there fighting for content, and that is very likely cutting into the available titles for Netflix. Even with the smaller library of titles available, Netflix also recently initiated a price increase, which could wind up hurting them as well.

A report from Market Watch notes that the recent price hike from $8.99 to $9.99 a month is enough for many customers to abandon ship. According to their report, Netflix could lose thousands of subscribers as a result of the price increase. Again, consumers have a lot more options than they did four years ago, so Netflix isn't as completely essential as it was even just a short time ago. Netflix understands that the price increase may lead some customers to leave, but they don't expect it to affect their earnings in the long run.

Ultimately, even with the smaller library of licensed content and the price increase, Netflix will still remain king of the streaming services, at least for now. In September, a deal the company made with Disney will go into effect that will see all future Disney movies land on Netflix exclusively, including all Star Wars and Marvel movies. So that will definitely help. For right now though, Netflix users may have to spend a bit more time searching for something to stream than they used to.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott