Those who have been having a harder time finding a movie to watch on Netflix aren't just getting pickier. It's a real problem. More than likely, it has to do with the fact that the streaming service's movie catalog has shrunk dramatically over the past five years, and things are only going to get worse as the streaming wars continue to heat up. It seems the days of getting by with just a Netflix subscription may be over for movie lovers.
According to a new report, Netflix had 6,494 movies in its streaming library in March 2014 for U.S. subscribers to take advantage of. As of November 2019, that number was down to 3,849, which represents roughly a 40 percent drop. That is a dramatic loss of titles. And it's not just the number either. Netflix has been investing in quite a few original movies over the last handful of years, and many of the streamer's earlier efforts served to disappoint, or were middle of the road at best. That has changed quite a bit, but that's not the main problem. The real culprit here is competition.
If we want to look at when things truly started to change, we have to go back to 2013. That's when Netflix debuted House of Cards. It wasn't their first original series, but it was the one that made the industry really take notice and, instead of simply being a possible revenue stream for other studios to license content to, they became competition. In the years since, Netflix has shifted its strategy dramatically to focus on original content. That has made it more difficult for them to license titles from other studios, and much of the company's cash flow has been diverted to produce this content, as opposed to spending it on licensing.
The other part of the equation here is that Netflix showed everyone else in the industry that streaming is the future. So, everyone has started to go into business for themselves. Disney+ recently launched, which means, in the very near future, no Disney titles will be available on Netflix. We've also got Amazon Prime Video and Hulu taking up a much larger share of the marketplace now. Plus, HBO Max and Comcast's NBC-branded streaming service Peacock are both set to launch in 2020, not to mention smaller services like CBS All Access, The Criterion Collection and Shudder.
All of this to say, it's not just Netflix anymore. All of these streaming services need movies and that means there is less to go around. The companies in control of these services want to keep the best content for themselves. Where Netflix runs into trouble is that, unlike studios like Warner Bros., Disney, Universal or Sony, they don't have a massive library of movies that they've built up over the course of decades to pull from. With that in mind, expect to see Netflix's movie selection get more sparse in the coming years. Streaming Observer.