There Are Fewer Movies & TV Shows On Netflix & Here’s Why

If you’ve wondered where all the Netflix movies have gone, you’re not going insane. You’re accurately noticing that the variety of content has been steadily decreasing for quite some time now.

The streaming giant has seen a 33% reduction in the number of films and 26% decrease in the amount of television shows since January 2014, according to report by AllFlicks. In January 2014, there were 6,494 movies and 1,609 TV shows, including King of the Hill. Now, there are only 4,335 movies and 1,197 TV shows, and no more King of the Hill.

But why, in the age of Netflix and chill, would Netflix see its programming variety enter a freefall?

There are a couple of reasons. First of all, Netflix has become an original programming powerhouse. House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Jessica Jones, Daredevil and all the rest have become sources of cultural capital that drive eyeballs and conversation in a way that, say, King of the Hill just doesn’t. Because Netflix now own their own content, it becomes less critical to renew deals with distributors like Epix. When the company didn’t pick their deal up with Epix last fall, movies like Wolf of Wall Street and World War Z migrated to Hulu.

Speaking of Hulu, the availability of other services like it, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and robust network-specific streaming options means that Netflix has steeper competition for licensing. That’s probably part of the reason that Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Variety that Netflix would no longer try to license shows not produced by Netflix itself.

Third, Netflix’s recommendation algorithm has gotten so good that it’s better at giving great suggestions from a more limited palette. Netflix knows what you want now and therefore needs to offer you less in the way of searchable content.

The bet is that Netflix can get leaner and rely more on original programming to boost subscriptions. And it’s working; The company added nearly 12 million U.S. subscribers over the past two years.

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