MSN Movies Blog

Streamers: The business behind "The Great Netflix Purge"

Is the outrage warranted as hundreds of titles rotate out of the catalog?

By SeanAx May 4, 2013 1:07PM

It's been called "The Great Netflix Purge" and "Streamageddon." Earlier this week, over 1,000 titles disappeared from Netflix.

That's actually nothing new from the streaming video service. Netflix is not a static library. It's more like a cable channel that leases the rights to movies and TV shows from a number of providers for a contracted period of time. When those contracts are up, the films are pulled. Titles routinely rotate out of the Netflix catalog at about the same rate that new titles are being added, and it has been happening all along. I've even surveyed expiring titles in past Videodrone features (one for Thanksgiving and another for titles leaving at the end of 2012)


What makes this different? Perhaps the size of this "purge," which was estimated to number about 1,800 titles. The media coverage has made it seem like some significant event, rather than business as usual, and subscribers are quick to react when it seems like they are suddenly losing something significant. And there was a fair amount of misinformation in the initial reporting, including claims that many of the disappearing titles belonged to Warner Bros. and were being reclaimed for its own fledgling streaming service, Warner Bros. Archive InstantWarner quickly put a rest to that rumor. In fact, the titles were part of a contract with Epix, as The Telegraph reports.

And in part, Netflix itself is to blame for the outrage. Films on Netflix may sit on customer queues for months or longer, waiting to be seen by the subscriber who assumes that film or TV show will wait indefinitely for them. It can be a rude awakening to click on a title you've added to your queue and find it no longer available.

Continue reading on Videodrone

May 4, 2013 8:55PM
Still there is nothing like netflix.  Beats watching the kardashians drivel
May 4, 2013 8:16PM
It would be nice if they would ADD a new title for every one they purge.
May 4, 2013 11:32PM

Give it a rest people, honestly... Netflix has always worked for me, I mind more then enough streaming to keep me busy, and even the movies surprise me from time to time. We are talking 8 bucks a month. I get my monies worth and am so tired of the media trying to sandbag this company. In the past they may have made a mistake or two.. BFD.

IF you like Netflix, stay. If you dont, go.... But how bout we get to real issues in life and not endlessly harp on the minutia.

May 4, 2013 10:33PM
Netflix does "warn" you if a title in your queue is expiring.  Sounds like the author of this story is also misinformed/
May 4, 2013 8:45PM
I was looking a few days ago and found a ton of " new " titles.  Nearly all were D-list.  Netflix has become stagnant.
May 5, 2013 12:39AM
I'm reading so many comments from people saying that there are no movies from the last few years on Netlix....The Hunger Games, The Paperboy and a few others were added recently. For $7.99 you can't really complain. Just sayin'
May 5, 2013 12:23AM
I have a Netflix streaming account, and they DO warn customers.  There were items in my queue that were some of those removed.  They had a notification beside each one that it would be removed on 5/1/13.  The warning was there for several days before they were pulled.....and they DO add new titles when they pull old ones.......I really am getting tired of inaccurate and biased reporting.
May 4, 2013 10:30PM
love listening to this.. people saying Netflix is so bad.. cant wait till every Studio has its own streaming service for $5 a month.. be just like cable $130 to see it all  instead of the $8-10 of netflix.. while its not everything, it cant be as long as people support the companies who want you to pay $130, you know every Cable operator, every studio wants it dead..I fear it will be too.. People will bithc and moan and by those $5 each ones.. I pay for HBO, but I wont use HBO GO (even for free).. its TV.. if its not Netflix (of somebody who charges about the same for more) i wont pay.. I wont let um screw us with outrageous prices .Wish the rest of the people would do the same.
May 5, 2013 3:56AM

Netflix's strength is not in its movies but it offers a tremendous value with its selection of  tv series and with its foreign movies and series. There are tons and tons of great tv programs and foreign movies plus a great selection of cartoon, anime and documentaries. I definitely get my money's worth each month. I feel sorry for people complaining about not having anything to watch.

May 4, 2013 7:59PM
The movies that have left have only left the streaming option.  Netflix still has hard copies so users can still see the movie if they have the DVD option plan.  None of the articles I have seen have mentioned this fact which doesn't give a true representation of the issue.
May 5, 2013 1:23AM
wow...seriously people. You get what you pay for... I love netflix!!! 
May 4, 2013 7:31PM
"the subscriber who assumes" is the key phrase here.  Don't ever assume anything in such a fluid marketplace.  If you want to watch something that badly, watch it now.  The queue is merely a reminder of what you want to watch.  You aren't entitled to it.
May 5, 2013 3:57AM
Since they have a category or list for everything else....Why not make a category for tittles being deleted soon.  Just put everything in there that will be deleted in the next week.  I know in this case it would have been 1800 tittles, but it wont always be that many.  And they could let you sort it by movies in your queue.  Just a thought.
May 5, 2013 8:02AM
I wonder if anyone knows if the big cable companies and the media covering this are connected somehow through businesses (corporate relations). That, to me, would explain all of the negative coverage. I have had Netflix for many years now. When they split the two services up I kept the streaming only. They have a lot of movies to watch on the streaming so much so that I promptly cancelled my cable. Now with regular tv and my netflix I really have all I need as far as viewing pleasure access. The 8 bucks a month definitely beats the 120 bucks a month bill I got from cable for a mountain of channels I never watched. As tight as money is these days it just made sense to dump the wasteful spending and zero in on the true value. Just my opinion.
May 4, 2013 9:13PM

As someone mentioned, there is the option of physical DVD's, and it's a much better option, as Netflix has many more physical titles than they do streaming titles.  People always assume that once a streaming service offers a movie/TV show, it's there forever.  Nope.  It's licensed like everything else. 


The article should mention the fact that physical DVD's are still available.  I don't it's gonna kill ya if you have to wait a day for your movie. 

May 5, 2013 8:07AM
Oh and by the way Netflix DOES let people know when the streaming movies are going to be pulled. Its in big letters on the right hand side of the movie listing in your streaming queue. Whomever wrote this article did not do their homework. This does not surprise me though. Today's media isn't about facts and truth. Its about propaganda and manipulation of the masses.
May 5, 2013 12:01AM
If you want new movies, go to the theater. Nothing from the last couple years?!? Then why don't you just pay $14.99 to buy your new movies on Vudu? Have you seen the crapadelic selection of movies on Hulu? Or here's a thought, learn to appreciate good classic movies instead of rewatching Big Momma's House and garbage like that. By the way, have you seen White Chicks? . . . I thought so.
May 4, 2013 11:54PM
Ya can't beat Netflix with a stick!  BTW  check out "The 9th Company" if ya think that you know something about Afghanistan. 

Netflix is still the best deal out there...movies and tv both.  Every once in a while we're late to discover some tv show and we can always back up to previous seasons/episodes on our trusty Netflix. Can't beat it for the price.

May 4, 2013 10:41PM
Also, Netflix probably sucks if you have cable. Netflix Streaming is a good product.  "But it does not have like all of the, I mean like, you know all of the like hip cool new shows on cable... I mean like who can live without all of the all those reruns of "I am Stupid Idiot and I Get Paid Playa" or "I From the Country.. Can You Believe How Dumb I Can Act for Money".    
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