Nearly 2,000 Netflix movies to disappear overnight

Almost 2,000 Netflix movies to disappear as contracts expire and new additions roll in. Just what is Netflix doing?

Fred Prouser/Reuters
Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, poses in Beverly Hills, California, December 8, 2005.

Netflix lost 1,794 titles overnight. Dubbed “Streamaggedon,” the Internet TV giant lost many of its classic titles when the clock struck midnight on April 30.

The loss of the titles comes at the heels of a deal expiration and the introduction of a new streaming service. Netflix’s deal with Warner Bros., MGM, and Universal came to an end last night, which resulted in the loss. MGM and Universal titles will now be available for streaming through the $10-a-month service, Warner Archive Instant.

While the vast majority of the films will not be sorely missed, the loss could be an indicator of Netflix’s future.

“This licensing deal lapse could just be the beginning of Netflix losing key content that keeps its subscribers coming back,” writes Business Insider’s Kevin Smith.

To further add to the loss, it was recently reported that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is considering not renewing a deal with Viacom. If Mr. Hastings does not renew then Netflix will lose titles from networks such as MTV, Nickelodeon, and BET.

Streamageddon 2013 also serves as a reminder of the "great Starz purge of 2012." Just last year, Netflix ended its contract with Starz, consequently losing many big-name movies.

Joris Evers, a Netflix spokesperson, told CNET that a lot of the titles lost came to Netflix as part of a deal with the TV station Epix.

“The vast majority of the titles that expire on Wednesday are older features that were aggregated by Epix," says Evers, according to CNET. "We recently added many great, more recent titles such as ParaNorman (Universal), Hunger Games (Epix), Safe (Epix) and Bachelorette (Weinstein). Tomorrow we will also add MI:2, among many other titles.”

In an e-mail to Mashable, Netflix released an official statement explaining that it will add more than 500 titles today.

“Netflix is a dynamic service, we constantly update the TV shows and movies that are available to our members. We will add more than 500 titles May 1, but we also have titles expiring, this ebb and flow happens all the time,” says the official statement sent to Mashable. “We are selective about what’s available to watch on Netflix. We often license TV shows and movies on an exclusive basis, so we can provide a unique experience. We’ll forego, or choose not renew, titles that aren’t watched enough. We always use our knowledge about what our members love to watch to decide what’s available on Netflix.”

The statement goes on to explain that Netflix sees itself as an expert programmer that offers “a mix that delights our members, rather than trying to be a broad distributor.”

There’s much to speculate about Netflix’s future. The company has successfully launched two of its own series and has delighted users by creating new episodes of Arrested Development. However, the loss of titles whether popular or not, could prove to be detrimental.

For more tech news follow Aimee on Twitter@aimee_ortiz 

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