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How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Old 12-18-14, 01:29 PM
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How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

I am new to the whole streaming thing, but I just found this article.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/12/...nuary-1st-2015

It mentions a lot of movies are getting removed from Netflix on January 1st. Does this happen often with movies and TV shows getting removed? Why does it happen? That's a lot of movies listed in the article, and it really is discouraging me from getting into streaming. I don't see how streaming is ever going to replace physical media when crap like this happens. What if I want to watch a movie and it's no longer available? Digital media is never going to replace physical media because of that very reason.
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Old 12-18-14, 01:56 PM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by taffer View Post
I am new to the whole streaming thing, but I just found this article.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/12/...nuary-1st-2015

It mentions a lot of movies are getting removed from Netflix on January 1st. Does this happen often with movies and TV shows getting removed? Why does it happen? That's a lot of movies listed in the article, and it really is discouraging me from getting into streaming. I don't see how streaming is ever going to replace physical media when crap like this happens. What if I want to watch a movie and it's no longer available? Digital media is never going to replace physical media because of that very reason.

It's the same thing as programs expiring on On Demand, or why HBO plays the same old movie 20 times in a 1 month span and then not again for a year: Licensing.

Netflix content expires on a regular basis and gets replenished with new material on a regular basis. They tend to keep very popular TV programs on there (like say Lost) for very long periods of time. I would say there's a monthly cycle - the 1st of each month you'll probably lose about 100 movies/tv programs and gain 100 new ones with larger ones occurring quarterly.

Netflix was never intended to replace physical media, it's intended to replace Cable. Vudu/Amazon Instant/iTunes are intended to replace physical media. If they didn't do regular purges, we'd never get new content since all the subscription money would go to continually keeping what they currently have.

On a side note, browsing Netflix for what you want on anything other than a computer can be a bit of a bitch, it has a ridiculous amount of content. So make sure you build your queues up in your web browser, and I recommend using a site like http://instantwatcher.com/ to see what's new.

Also, both the "movies being removed" and "movies being added" lists you see are very much incomplete.

Last edited by RichC2; 12-18-14 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 12-18-14, 02:17 PM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

A lot of times they are listed as being removed, but instantly come back available just due to the way the licensing is set up. Some things look to be expiring every January 1st, but every January 1st they are still available throughout the year.

On the other hand, sometimes they are gone for years.
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Old 12-18-14, 02:26 PM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Netflix was never intended to replace physical media, it's intended to replace Cable. Vudu/Amazon Instant/iTunes are intended to replace physical media.
Cool. Thanks for all that. I don't see how Netflix is supposed to replace cable though. Netflix doesn't have current TV shows or movies. It doesn't look like Netflix gets them until after they are released on physical media.

Personally, I hope physical media never dies. Most things I am okay with renting and watching once, but some things I definitely want to own on physical media. I couldn't imagine not having something like Star Wars or LOTR on DVD/BD.
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Old 12-18-14, 03:17 PM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by taffer View Post
Cool. Thanks for all that. I don't see how Netflix is supposed to replace cable though. Netflix doesn't have current TV shows or movies. It doesn't look like Netflix gets them until after they are released on physical media.

Personally, I hope physical media never dies. Most things I am okay with renting and watching once, but some things I definitely want to own on physical media. I couldn't imagine not having something like Star Wars or LOTR on DVD/BD.
A majority of what airs on cable is re-runs with occasional new programming. Netflix sort of fills that niche of watching daytime cable and has its own shows to fill the original programming gap (And quite a bit of it is excellent). So it makes a little sense. Why pay $80 a month to watch a show weekly when you can just wait for it to be over and marathon the whole thing (ie: American Horror Story, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad) seems to be the idea for a lot of cord cutters.

It actually does get newer movies from a few companies, roughly 8 - 9 months after their theatrical release, which is a similar span for Showtime and HBO. Though admittingly both Showtime and HBO tend to get bigger name movies until 2016 (Netflix signed a First Run deal with Disney, so all Marvel movies will debut on Netflix instead of HBO/Starz/Showtime/whatever).

I doubt physical media would ever go away, Vudu/iTunes and Physical media can co-exist.

Last edited by RichC2; 12-18-14 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 12-18-14, 05:48 PM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
(Netflix signed a First Run deal with Disney, so all Marvel movies will debut on Netflix instead of HBO/Starz/Showtime/whatever).
Not all Marvel movies. Just the ones distributed by Disney. X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises are still distributed by Fox. Spider-Man movies are distributed by Sony.
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Old 12-18-14, 06:35 PM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

I meant Marvel Studio, my mistake.
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Old 12-19-14, 12:25 AM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by taffer View Post
I don't see how streaming is ever going to replace physical media when crap like this happens. What if I want to watch a movie and it's no longer available? Digital media is never going to replace physical media because of that very reason.
You're not comparing streaming vs physical media. You're comparing renting vs owning.

Netflix is a rental service. You can't compare it to your personal collection. It's more like an all-you-can-watch pass to your local Blockbuster. There's a limited selection of titles and occasionally a particular title won't be available.

If you want permanent access, you have to buy the movie. You can own streaming titles through services like Vudu, iTunes or Amazon Instant Video. Then you don't have to worry about it being removed. It will always be available to watch in your digital collection.
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Old 12-19-14, 07:52 AM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
You're not comparing streaming vs physical media. You're comparing renting vs owning.

Netflix is a rental service. You can't compare it to your personal collection. It's more like an all-you-can-watch pass to your local Blockbuster. There's a limited selection of titles and occasionally a particular title won't be available.

If you want permanent access, you have to buy the movie. You can own streaming titles through services like Vudu, iTunes or Amazon Instant Video. Then you don't have to worry about it being removed. It will always be available to watch in your digital collection.
Will a digital title truly always be available though in the long term? For example, will they all still be there 10-20 years from now?

Amazon has removed ebooks from the Kindle before. What's to stop that from happening with movies? People talk about going digital as saving physical space, but what about server space? Is there really enough server space to host all these files indefinitely while also continuously adding more and more?

Or what if Amazon goes out of business in 10-20 years? It seems unthinkable right now that Amazon would ever go out business, but business is always changing. At one point in time, it was unthinkable that K-Mart and Sears and Blockbuster Video would ever be in trouble, but look where they are now. If Amazon goes out of business, then your entire digital collection goes in the trash with them.

Some people make the counterpoint that you can lose your physical collection in a fire or flood or tornado or whatever, but honestly that very rarely happens. The vast majority of people live their entire lives without ever having their home destroyed in such a manner. It is significantly more likely that Amazon will go out of business than it is for your home to be destroyed by a fire or natural disaster.

That is the biggest concern I have with digital is the long term situation.
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Old 12-19-14, 08:32 AM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by taffer View Post
Will a digital title truly always be available though in the long term? For example, will they all still be there 10-20 years from now?

---------------------

That is the biggest concern I have with digital is the long term situation.
Is physical media really a long term solution? When's the last time you watched a VHS tape that you bought back in the early 90's? I can't even remember the last time I watched a DVD. All my favorite movies on DVD were replaced by Blu-rays. Are you still going to be watching Blu-rays in 20 years? I have a feeling that by then, something better will come along. Let's face it, movie collectors will end up buying the same movies over and over again for the rest of their lives.

I like streaming media because it's convenient. I'm thinking about the right now. I'm not too worried about 20 years in the future.

Amazon has removed ebooks from the Kindle before.
That was a unique incident about 5 years ago where a sleazy publisher had listed bootleg copies of some e-books. Amazon gave everyone a full refund and made changes to their policies to prevent that from happening again.
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Old 12-19-14, 09:07 AM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
Is physical media really a long term solution? When's the last time you watched a VHS tape that you bought back in the early 90's? I can't even remember the last time I watched a DVD. All my favorite movies on DVD were replaced by Blu-rays. Are you still going to be watching Blu-rays in 20 years? I have a feeling that by then, something better will come along. Let's face it, movie collectors will end up buying the same movies over and over again for the rest of their lives.
All my VHS tapes were replaced by DVD. However, I do still own quite a few DVDs because not everything is on BD.

Will I still be watching BD in 20 years? Maybe. We are approaching diminishing returns. VHS to DVD was an enormous jump in quality. DVD to BD was significantly less of a jump. BD to 4k is even less. I am quite satisfied with BD quality honestly. I have a feeling that 4k isn't going to be a big hit with most people since 4k really requires a huge TV to get the full benefit, and most people will never own huge TVs.

Also, don't forget backwards compatibility. BD players are compatible with DVDs. That makes upgrading less harsh since you don't have to completely abandon the old format.


I like streaming media because it's convenient. I'm thinking about the right now. I'm not too worried about 20 years in the future.
That's fine. Most people are fine with living in the now. Some people like myself though want to think about the future and try to futureproof as much as possible. Even if DVDs and BDs were to stop being produced, I will still have my collection. However, if Amazon goes under, then so does your collection.
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Old 12-19-14, 09:45 AM
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Re: How often do movies/TV shows get removed from Netflix?

Originally Posted by taffer View Post
Will a digital title truly always be available though in the long term? For example, will they all still be there 10-20 years from now?

Amazon has removed ebooks from the Kindle before. What's to stop that from happening with movies? People talk about going digital as saving physical space, but what about server space? Is there really enough server space to host all these files indefinitely while also continuously adding more and more?

Or what if Amazon goes out of business in 10-20 years? It seems unthinkable right now that Amazon would ever go out business, but business is always changing. At one point in time, it was unthinkable that K-Mart and Sears and Blockbuster Video would ever be in trouble, but look where they are now. If Amazon goes out of business, then your entire digital collection goes in the trash with them.

Some people make the counterpoint that you can lose your physical collection in a fire or flood or tornado or whatever, but honestly that very rarely happens. The vast majority of people live their entire lives without ever having their home destroyed in such a manner. It is significantly more likely that Amazon will go out of business than it is for your home to be destroyed by a fire or natural disaster.

That is the biggest concern I have with digital is the long term situation.
It's more dependent on something like Ultraviolet, which ties bought titles through numerous services (ie: anything I buy on Target Ticket is also accessible through Vudu, CinemaNow, Verizon, etc; ) but even then, certain stores like Vudu allow you to download your media if you are so inclined -- albeit with device-specific limitations (it has DRM so you cannot transfer it off). Amazon is not a part of that consortium and is one of the more limited video services, and so I don't buy movies from Amazon.

If all of them shut down, then there may be an issue if the computer those videos are tied to goes down, most of us aren't concerned about that. Real collectors are always going to want physical copies of things, casual viewers generally don't care as much, especially if it's something like Guardians of the Galaxy and the total cost comes out to $5. And sharing out your library is super easy now which is useful for people like me that are the primary movie watchers in the family with parents and siblings that live hours away.

Last edited by RichC2; 12-19-14 at 10:00 AM.
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