Why Having Less Content Is Paying Off for Netflix

The streaming service is focusing its attention on original programming

Netflix
Netflix is winning big with less content.
Quote Catalog
By Bonnie Stiernberg / January 28, 2020 9:36 am

If you’ve ever spent time endlessly scrolling through Netflix looking for something to watch, this may be hard to believe, but as Vox reports, the streaming service has about 50 percent fewer titles available than it used to. The focus on quality over quantity seems to have paid off, however, as the company has recently enjoyed more awards recognition with projects like The Irishman and Marriage Story.

In 2010, Netflix had 7,285 TV and movie titles available to stream. It hit its peak in 2012 with approximately 11,000, and it currently has 5,838 — nearly a 50 percent decrease, but still higher than its all-time low of 5,158 in 2018.

As the Vox report notes, “The decline is part of a long-anticipated move by Netflix away from relying on other studios’ content and toward making its own. Netflix is making that transition as other content makers — namely Apple, Disney, NBC, and WarnerMedia — launch and grow their own streaming services. This influx of new services also coincides with Netflix paying higher and higher prices to license content, especially if it belongs to one of its new streaming competitors. Netflix could also be intentionally winnowing its selection as its vast troves of viewer data show it what people actually watch and what it can afford not to license.”

The focus on original content is part of Netflix’s push to be seen as a legitimate studio and an awards contender. “So you’ll see that if we further our reputation for doing well for content — sorry, for talent — by being one of the best in the world at winning awards for our talent, then the business benefit is that we will win deals that we wouldn’t have otherwise won for incredibly entertaining content,” CEO Reed Hastings said.

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