If you're looking to watch one of IMDb's top 250 movies in the U.S., streaming giant Netflix may not be your preferred destination. According to one recent analysis, the number of those films available on the service has dropped since its inception, clearing the way for more original programming.
Netflix remains the most well-known streaming service in the world, but as they've slowly wound down their DVD mail rental service, they've opened themselves to criticism regarding a lackluster streaming catalog of major feature films. Partly that's due to the rising costs of obtaining streaming rights to those movies, but it's also partly due to studios pulling their content in order to offer it on their own services, as Disney will be doing with its Marvel and Star Wars catalogs.
According to Streaming Observer, only 35 of the IMDb's 250 greatest movies are currently available in the U.S. through Netflix. They chart the decline from 49 out of 250 in 2014 down to 31 in 2016, before a slight uptick to the current number. To be fair, they also note that Netflix does offer 15 out of the top 100, and that includes some big names like The Godfather and Schindler's List.
With the ubiquity of streaming these days, this shift makes sense both for the feature studios and for Netflix. For the studios, a deep catalog can mean the chance to collect their own subscription fees on an ongoing basis, rather than negotiating with Netflix every few years. Most won't have the sure-fire draws that Disney can rely on, but there's no doubt they're looking into it.
In the meantime, Netflix has been doing just fine with their focus on original content. Their TV side has been more successful, as their bevy of Emmy awards this year will attest, but they've continued to develop original films as well. They've had some mixed success in this regard as well, but the lukewarm critical reception to films like Bright or The Cloverfield Paradox hasn't dampened their enthusiasm any. They're looking to expand their film output further, including big-budget blockbusters as well as art-house and festival fare. They're even moving onto the studios' own turf with several films from creators as high-profile as the Coen Brothers planned for theatrical release. As much as it's refreshing to see new avenues for creators to do what they do best, it's a shame that a service with Netflix's reach needs to choose between providing access to classic films and trying to make their own.
Source: Streaming Observer