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Netflix's Original Content Library Is Growing By 185% Each Year (cordcutting.com) 103

An anonymous reader writes: From Q1 of 2012 to Q1 of 2016, Netflix has added an incredible 111 original series and films. The numbers translate to an average quarterly growth rate of 34.22% and an average annual growth rate of 185.41%. And there is reason to believe that future growth rates could be even higher -- with competition coming from all sides, Netflix is likely to keep pushing more and more cash into original content. Those wondering why Netflix has grown increasingly interested in owning the shows it airs, you have to realize that not long ago the streaming company was struggling to snap any good TV show from cable channels. The New York Times' profile of House of Cards' Beau Willimon, from 2014, sheds more light into this : Around three years ago, Netflix realized it had a problem: It was paying large sums to license other people's content -- TV shows and movies produced by other companies -- in order to then show them to you, the Netflix subscriber, at home. This initially proved successful, but there were two troubling aspects to this model: 1) It left Netflix very vulnerable to competition, since the shows and movies it licensed could, theoretically, be licensed by anyone willing to outbid them, and 2) the most popular TV shows, episodic dramas like "CSI" and sitcoms like "The Big Bang Theory," were already being sold for huge deals into syndication at basic cable channels like TBS and USA. What was left to Netflix were the kind of serialized shows that don't typically play well in syndication, like "Lost" and "Breaking Bad," which have complicated story arcs that compel a viewer to watch all the episodes in order. Traditionally, while these kinds of serialized shows could be big hits in their initial broadcast runs, they proved tough sells to aftermarkets, precisely because of the demands they placed on the audience.
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Netflix's Original Content Library Is Growing By 185% Each Year

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It’s not your imagination – Netflix’s catalog is getting smaller. As competition in the OTT streaming space has increased, Netflix’s once-massive selection has decreased. In fact, it has shrunk by a third in less than two and a half years.

    https://www.allflicks.net/netflixs-us-catalog-has-shrunk-by-more-than-2500-titles-in-less-than-2-5-years/

    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @11:45AM (#51814685)

      Speaking for myself, I came to Netflix for the back-catalog movies and TV shows. Their original shows are just icing on the cake. But lately Netflix seems to think that they can be just another TV network like HBO, and have neglected what made most of their customers subscribe to their service in the first place.

      As their back-catalog shrinks, so do the chances I'll renew my subscription each month. If I wanted to subscribe to HBO, I would just go subscribe to HBO.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I cam mostly for the original shows like Dare Devil, House of Cards and Jessica Jones. The loss of some back-catalogue stuff is quite annoying though, especially when you are part way though watching (happened to me with Ashes to Ashes).

        As such I tend to subscribe for a month or two at a time now, between releases of original series. If they improved the back catalogue I'd just keep the subscription going.

        As an aside, Netflix does some good non-English original series too. If you don't mind subtitles or spe

        • by bkr1_2k ( 237627 )

          Care to make any specific recommendations? We watch pretty much everything with subtitles on because we speak 4 different languages in our household and watch even more on film.

          • by JazzLad ( 935151 )
            I can; here's a few I have (or still am) really enjoying:

            Occupied (Norwegian & a little English and Russian - takes place slightly in future)
            Heavy Water War (Norwegian and English - takes place in WWII)
            Foyle's War (Ok, pretty much all English, but UK not US, also WWII)
            Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (also English, takes place in Australia in the 20's)

            I only saw 1 episode & wasn't really my thing, but Netflix Original series Atelier is in Japanese.

            There are tonnes of good British shows on Netflix,
            • by bkr1_2k ( 237627 )

              You read correctly. Thanks.

              • by JazzLad ( 935151 )
                I hesitated to reply to myself (especially when I could have been wrong), but I also really liked "River" (also British) - in fact that was what got me started (with this list, anyway, I like a lot of BBC shows). I really liked Stellan Skarsgård (Swedish - I also liked Nicola Walker, had seen her previously in Spooks [renamed MI-5 for American audiences, but I watched it before Netflix carried MI-5]) so I searched him & found King of Devil's Island (Norwegian) & liked it well enough, the 'More
            • The Detectorists. You will not be sorry.

          • by Altus ( 1034 )

            The Last Days was a really cool and original scifi/apocalypse move. I really enjoyed it.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Well, I like j-drama, but it's not for everyone. I think you just have to try a few shows.

      • I disagree. I joined Netflix for the same reason you did, and grew concerned as copyright holders became intent on denying Netflix quality content. When they started producing their own content, I thought, "That's smart. Even if you just come up with a couple shows, it could spur interest."

        After a couple years of new Netflix content, they produce a couple of my favorite shows. I definitely do not want them to stop. What's more, I do subscribe to HBO, and it's largely so that I can view their original programming. I also subscribe to Hulu. None of these has anything resembling a complete catalog, but putting them all together, I get to watch most of what I'd want to watch.

        I think this is the right move forward-- not a good endpoint, but a good "next logical step". Streaming services with limited catalogs and great original programming will continue to hammer away at traditional TV, and you'll see more and more cord-cutters. I don't know how long it will take, but eventually the situation will become dire enough for traditional networks that they'll have to make their properties available on streaming services to make any money off of them. It'll be the Spotifycation of TV.

        Give that a few years, and you'll see some method arise where you can pay a single subscription and get everything you want-- a complete back-catalog plus HBO/Netflix/Hulu originals. Now, that might be by some arrangement where these major providers agree on some common platform, or it may just be licensing deals (e.g. "Netflix pays HBO to get all their programming on a 1-year delay."). But that's the endpoint we want, and I still think it's going to happen.

        • The next step for Netflix may be to produce major motion pictures, release in theaters then exclusively on NF.

          I also wonder when they make serious moves into live TV and sports. Theoretically they could make that a different service but use the existing infrastructure.
      • by Altus ( 1034 )

        I get what you are saying but I think there is a lot of evidence that this new business is taking over the old one. I don't think they are at too much risk of losing customers over it. People love the new content and I suspect it is even driving some new signups by people who want to watch House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.

        I'm also curious what the contraction in their catalog is caused by, are they really taking on less A list shows or are they not bringing in as many C list made for TV movies.

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )

          I'm also curious what the contraction in their catalog is caused by, are they really taking on less A list shows or are they not bringing in as many C list made for TV movies. If its the latter I think they can get away with it (although those movies make for cheep filler, they may not need as much filler).

          Since I watch a lot of Christian content (which is relatively obscure and not mainstream and definitely usually qualifies as C list quality), I can tell you that niche content has exploded and "blockbuster" movies, especially those that can be found almost everywhere, aren't on there anymore. There's a heavier emphasis on TV shows and less on movies.

          Netflix knows what they are doing. I can always find something interesting to watch on there. I don't need the blockbusters, because I probably already saw t

        • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

          I'm also curious what the contraction in their catalog is caused by, are they really taking on less A list shows or are they not bringing in as many C list made for TV movies.

          The contraction is due to a fundamental disagreement about pricing between Netflix and the content companies. Netflix offers a "one size fits all, unlimited streaming for a fixed price per month" model that the content companies don't like. They want titles to be pay-per-view, they want to charge more for different titles, and charge more for high-def versus low-def, things Netflix says degrades the viewer experience (and they're not wrong). So the content companies, who say that customers should be paying

      • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

        Their original shows are just icing on the cake. But lately Netflix seems to think that they can be just another TV network like HBO, and have neglected what made most of their customers subscribe to their service in the first place.

        What are you talking about, their DVD and Blu-Ray selection is still great!

        Their streaming options always, always sucked. But that's not really their fault -- with the current set of laws in the US, you can't run a good online streaming service. You just can't.

      • ...and have neglected what made most of their customers subscribe to their service in the first place.

        They've been ignoring their DVD rental via mail?

      • At least 50% of the time we go looking on Netflix for a certain non-obscure movie, it's not there. But what IS there is a surfeit of "straight to video" quality stuff that I'm sure appeals to them for the low licensing cost, it lets them say we have N thousand movies, few of which are what one wants.
    • Either that is because of a change in focus of Netflix or because the content providers are getting more difficult/greedier? Without an official comment from Netflix it is hard to know, but any change of focus of Netflix is probably triggered by the latter?

      The one reason I would give for someone pirating: is that you can't be sure where to find the content or find the content in 1 year and at a reasonable cost. I appreciate content owners need to stay profitable, but there needs to be some sort of balance?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm glad Netflix didn't waste their money on stateless television series that can be watched in any episode order.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @11:31AM (#51814557)
    I want other networks to make the investments in content, get burned, and for Netflix to pick up the least crispy remains a few years later. New Netflix shows like House of Cards (which began to suck after just two seasons) just aren't needed: compared to what I do watch on Netflix its original content is only a small fraction.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They licensed the studios' content to stream, and once those studios got wise to the fact that hey, people are actually canceling their cable TV subscriptions in favor of this, killed their deals during renewal. Now Netflix is using the money they made streaming famous content for cheap to fund new original series to keep people watching.

    I call this the AMC model.

  • the same thing that makes those shows bad in syndication makes them great for Netflix binge watching!

    -nb

  • If Netflix is going to concentrate on its own content, what's the real difference between Netflix and any random cable channel that provides on-demand viewing?

    • by pesho ( 843750 )
      1. Lack of ads. 2. Not paying for cable TV package.
    • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @12:07PM (#51814873)

      what's the real difference...?

      C O S T !

      People that don't care enough about teevee to accept the huge cost of cable teevee packages are far better served with a low cost streaming system. Netflix is doing it right; they learned back in 2011 not to jack up rates to pay for a huge catalog, and instead they're making new content and watching their subscriber base grow rapidly. They're doing it right and the endless horde of critics are arguing with success.

      I think they need to go further. They should build a genuine news network and stream it live. CNN blew up news reporting in the 80's, displacing traditional network news and creating multiple cable exclusive competitors. Netflix has 65 million international viewers that would probably tune into a streaming exclusive news network.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Even in the age of DVRs and streaming I can't be bothered with serialized shows. I'm pretty sure that the serialization of CSI is what killed the show. Early on it was like watching Dragnet; a criminal show with some steady characters with a bit of personality but no so much that you cared about their personal lives. Then it turned more and more into incorporating their personal lives and while the show still mainly dwelled on an episodic case you had to be dragged into this personal drama story arc that se

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @11:53AM (#51814745)

    How about demand / customer base?
    If you have two coconuts and three buyers you have a market.
    If you have three coconuts and two buyers you don't have a market.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Applicable only in US Territories otherwise you get diddly squat and a whole load of VPN blocks and IP Bans.

    • Netflix's original content is license for world wide distribution, so this actually increases the library for everyone in every territory.

  • by Notorious G ( 4223193 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @11:56AM (#51814765)

    I like the original content push - it seems NetFlix is more willing to be original and take some chances rather than create yet another "CSI" or "Law and Order" or just some stupid hospital based soap opera. Not all the original content is great but it's mostly pretty solid with some standouts. I hope they continue to embrace original content. The back catalog stuff is sometimes interesting but mostly stuff I've already seen, it's a dead end.

    I've really been getting into international shows. "The Almighty Johnsons", "Wentworth", "Happy Valley" are all excellent.

    • They might be excellent, but those aren't what they mean by original content. They are talking about shows that Netflix funded exclusively for Netflix.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I like the original content push - it seems NetFlix is more willing to be original and take some chances rather than create yet another "CSI" or "Law and Order" or just some stupid hospital based soap opera. Not all the original content is great but it's mostly pretty solid with some standouts. I hope they continue to embrace original content. The back catalog stuff is sometimes interesting but mostly stuff I've already seen, it's a dead end.

      Correction - you like it for now.

      Netflix is producing content you

      • Enjoy it at the moment - Netflix may decide later to produce less content you like in favor of other content to attract a larger group of subscribers (i.e., they'd rather lose you if they can get 100 more subscribers).

        Its doubtful that would happen to the extent it would drive off many customers. As the market matures, customer retention becomes as much or more important part of the mix as customer acquisition. It may cost less to keep a customer than attract a new one.

    • Also Netflix is working on doing a reboot of Lost in Space; a project no network was willing to take on. I love the original campy 60's show so that alone is enough to keep me hooked on Netflix.
    • I agree that Netflix's original content is very good. My kids have latched on to Puss In Boots, and I watch it with them because of the adult humor disguised as child humor. I was shocked to discover that it was a Netflix original series, as it is very good within its genre.

    • Now stay tuned for Fuller House!

  • Won't matter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @12:00PM (#51814799) Homepage

    as I'm about to pull the plug on Netflix for blocking VPS/DNS services. I do watch them quite a bit from Canada but I don't really need them. Even the wife who could care less about tech stuff was like what? Off with their heads.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @12:32PM (#51815121)
    Of course I know that streaming has superseded DVDs for the great majority of people.

    .
    But Netflix appears to be slowly, drip by drip, screwing its customers of the DVD service.

    The "next day" mail service has now been turned into two-day deliveries.

    It also seems as if the turnaround at the distribution center once a disc is received is now next day, instead of same day.

    I subscribe to the two discs at home level of service. I appear to be receiving about half the number of discs per month as I used to.

    It looks as if Netflix is actively trying to chase customers away by reducing the amount of streaming content and putting large latencies into the distribution of their DVD service.

    It looks like Netflix's US business has become too expensive, and Netflix is now looking to international markets for the profits as it withdraws from the US markets.

    • It likely has more to do with operation cost effectiveness than intentionally providing less service to push people to streaming , but I think its clear that NF will celebrate the day it can rid itself of the hard media portion of its business and concentrate solely on streaming.

      Is NF original content available on disk? I never even thought about that.
    • by jfengel ( 409917 )

      Huh. Anecdotally, I'm getting the same service with DVDs that I always have. I generally assume that if I put it in the mail Tuesday, they get it Wednesday, and get me the new disk Thursday. That seems reasonable to me.

      I dropped from the 3 disc service back to 2 because I watch a lot more stuff on streaming, but there's a lot of stuff that's only available on disks. I generally have one disk on hand and another in the mail. (Actually, I often end up holding things for a few days, since I watch less stuff th

      • I went from 3 discs down to one plus streaming... because generally anything I want that they have on DVD I can get from Amazon for $3-6, and I don't have to deal with (potentially scratched) DVDs. I do keep one DVD service, for some reason, though. I rarely even use it.

    • Shipping DVD's all over the place, and checking them in (and verifying the customer hasn't intentionally damaged it) has to be a logistically fun - I'm sure its not cheap - maybe even only breaks even because the delivery method is subsidized (via usps).

    • Same here, it takes longer to get a replacement disk than it once did. I suspect they consolidated the servicing centers which results in a longer shipping time. But I would drop streaming before I dropped DVDs by mail - their DVD by mail catalogue is amazing and gives us the opportunity to watch new releases and classics that are not available on streaming. There are lots of tv shows on DVD as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry as this is off the main topic, but how did they come up with "The numbers translate to an average quarterly growth rate of 34.22% and an average annual growth rate of 185.41%"? I would have assumed that averaging growth over time would be done logarithmically. 1.3422^4 is not 2.8541. Pedantic I know, but maths should be correct on a nerd site.

  • If Netflix wants more original content, they just need to choose to spend more money on original content.

    If Netflix wants to license more content, there's no no way to force rights-holders to take their money no matter how much they wave around.

  • Don't forget: https://xkcd.com/1102 [xkcd.com]
  • I kind of wish Netflix would've done better in delivering us a quality presidential candidate. Hillary and Trump both have major flaws. If we could get President Underwood, that would be the ticket.
  • With Netflix investing more than $1 billion in original content in 2015, I'd hope it grows substantially.

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