You Are Not Imagining It Streaming Service Catalogs Are Shrinking Including Disney+, Max, & More





Streaming service remote

We’ve all been there. Sit down, turn on the TV, ready to watch your new favorite show… only to find it has gone missing from your preferred streaming service. Or, even worse, it is not available in its entirety, missing some seasons, or sometimes episodes within a season have vanished. 

Streaming platforms pull content from their digital libraries, but why? Doesn’t it make sense to keep the most extensive, most entertaining content constantly available to maintain a hearty subscriber base? Not always, according to the inner workings of streaming platforms.

“What is hitting their income statements is the amortization of content that’s already been made and released. Warner Bros. Discovery was the first one to figure this out, so we have to give credit where it’s due. They said they need to get their earnings up, so they started taking shows off the app. Disney is now doing that and we should expect Paramount to follow suit. And one day Netflix may even do the same thing,” according to Michael Nathanson, an analyst at SVB MoffettNathanson. “

Part of it is due to content licensing. At times, streaming platforms will lose their access to content this way, and have to purge their video libraries. This can be because the content media rights contracts expired and were not renewed, but also streaming services may decide to cut content to avoid paying residuals and licensing fees to save on operational costs.

This includes video content that the streaming service created itself. Many platforms come out with original programming to drive up subscribers as it’s only available on that specific service and they still have to pay themselves for said content. 

Sources report, “That’s why NBCUniversal had to pay itself $500 million to stream Universal TV’s The Office on Peacock and Warner Bros. Discovery paid $425 million for the streaming rights to the WBTV-produced Friends.”

Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, Max, and other streaming services are removing content that isn’t bringing in large audiences anymore to focus more funding on shows and films that acquire more subscribers. Titles can move from one streaming service to another, so it’s not like they’re permanently deleted. Ad-supported options often have a number of shows that have been eliminated from other platforms. And there is always the option to simply purchase just about any content yourself on DVD.

So far, purges are only affecting roughly .04 percent to a little under 2 percent of streaming services’ video libraries, mostly underperforming shows. While this may not seem like a lot, it could have a long-term negative impact on who will still be willing to watch a new series that may get cut after a single season, such as Netflix’s 1899.

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