Netflix Moving Towards More Original Content

netflixBy James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

According to a recent report, with a movie catalog that is shrinking by over 30%, it looks like Netflix has been moving away from offering popular, mainstream films and third-party TV series, and will instead put more of their resources towards original programming. Why is this happening? Well, competition for one thing, but it also points to the tried and true method of sticking with what works.

“The statistics are simple and remarkable: in January of 2014, Netflix offered its US-based users a selection of 6,494 movies and 1,609 TV shows, for a total of 8,103 titles. As of March 23, 2016, they offer just 4,335 movies and 1,197 TV shows – 5,532 titles in total. That’s 2,571 fewer titles. In other words, Netflix’s catalog has shrunk 31.7% in less than two and a half years.” – Report by All Flicks

When Netflix first started out, it made sense to offer as many movies and TV series as they could get their hands on. In the early days, they had little competition in streaming, although back then Blockbuster was still alive and taking on Netflix in the DVD-by-mail market. But when it came to watching online, Netflix was one of the only games in town, and eager to move their DVD-by-mail memberships towards the streaming option. Blockbuster gave that a go, but it proved to be too little too late and they were the first casualty of the online war.

Once the cable cutters took hold, and Netflix’s original series initiative started to gain traction, other streaming options including Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, HBO Now and others have come on board giving the 800 pound gorilla competition.  Even the networks are streaming their own stuff.

Now all of them are competing for the same movies and TV shows, and also making their own award winning original content. Faced with having to pay more for exclusive access to movies and other streaming options, it appears that Netflix is deciding to double down on producing original content, where they don’t have to get into bidding wars or share in the profits.

That doesn’t mean that Netflix is getting out of carrying other content. Far from it. They recently started carrying the entire series run of Animaniacs. But in 2016, Netflix plans to offer 31 new original series, as well as sixteen feature films that they are producing, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, Pee Wee’s Big Holiday, and Brad Pitt’s War Machine.

In short, Netflix is evolving into a content creator, rather than a content aggregator. They’re like the studios back in the early days, when they owned the movie theaters that films were shown in. Then the federal government broke up the cartel and forced them to divest of their movie presentation assets. I’m not saying that Netflix and other streaming services will suffer the same fate, but they’re clearly moving more towards creating their own catalogs, rather than relying heavily on licensing the content of others, and it makes total sense.

Clearly their membership doesn’t mind either. Even with a raise in the monthly rate to $8.99 a month, Netflix now enjoys a growing membership of over 75 million members, with another 6 million expected by the end of the quarter. Frankly, I like their original content better anyway. I can always go to a location with a RedBox to get a movie, or rent one via iTunes or any number of online services.

But they had better be careful; although they’re still the big kahuna, by doing things like abandoning their defense of net neutrality, and automatically downgrading video quality could cause that momentum to stall.

Hat Tip – /Film

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.