Over the last few months there have been a number of stories in the blogosphere about the shrinking Netflix movie catalogue. I contributed to this storyline in my post Netflix Streaming: The Other Story . The early response to these stories was that Netflix was going to focus their resources on original content because licensing fees were becoming cost prohibitive. Over the last couple of weeks Netflix has, at least for now, decided not to abandon entirely their customers who want more than just original content. On May 23rd Netflix announced that, beginning in September, Netflix would be the exclusive U.S. pay TV provider for the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar. Once they’ve left the movie theaters, the only place you’ll be able to see films from these proven producers of blockbuster movies is on Netflix. Along with this announcement, Netflix released a short clip on what’s coming to Netflix this summer. You can find it in this linked story. This deal, worth $600 million, is on the heels of a $100 million, 5 year deal with Miramax to retain the rights to their inventory of 700 movies. Absent a deal with Miramax, Netflix would have lost the licensing rights to many of their older classic movies such as Good Will Hunting and Pulp Fiction. Amazon’s hopes of catching up to Netflix, in terms of the size of movie inventory, have been seriously damaged.
These deals shore up a growing weakness for Netflix. For movie lovers like myself, though, a huge gap remains between the movies we want to see and the movies available on Netflix streaming and Amazon Prime. In my movie database there are 423 “really like” movies. Only 68 are available on these two leading streaming services, combined. That’s only 16%. If you only have Amazon Prime, 20 of these 423 movies, or 5%, would be available. If you only have Netflix, 48 of 423, or 11%, would be available. A la Carte purchase of movies through pay per view venues isn’t going away. This isn’t good news for those of us who are already paying for streaming services and/or premium cable channels and still have to pay more to see 85% of the movies we’re interested in.
I guess, with apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, if you can’t be with the movie you love, love the movie your with.