Why is Netflix removing movies and TV shows?

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Netflix is ​​one of the largest and most popular streaming services in the world, known for hit shows like Stranger Things and The Witcher and original movies like Extraction, The Irishman, and many more. However, from time to time, Netflix removes content from your library, but why?

The answer is quite simple. Netflix pays movie and TV studios to license their content around the world, and those deals don’t last forever. Presumably, Netflix would want to keep as much content available for as long as possible, but this isn’t always possible due to licensing agreements. As such, some titles have to leave the Netflix library.

In a post on his website, Netflix explained that when the expiration date of a license agreement for a movie or TV show approaches, the company considers a variety of elements. First, Netflix needs to determine if the rights are still available. If they are available for extension, Netflix considers the popularity of a show, region by region, along with what a new license agreement might cost.

These factors enter into Netflix’s general formula for deciding whether or not to continue to license a show or let it go. There could also be a number of additional factors that go into the formula, which Netflix doesn’t disclose. For example, Netflix has faced pressure to remove content that some viewers find controversial, such as Dave Chappelle’s stand-up specials or the movie Cuties. Netflix didn’t remove them, but it’s reasonable to assume that Netflix will take into account the broader discussions and discourse about those shows and others like them when thinking about future programming.

In terms of the cost of a license, if a show is popular and in demand, the licensor could ask Netflix to pay more to extend the deal. Netflix then has to determine whether it’s worth investing in a new arrangement at a higher rate given what they could recoup in terms of new subscribers or ad revenue.

Another item to consider here is that Netflix’s content libraries vary by region. If you’ve ever gone on vacation and turned on Netflix in another country, you may have noticed that the content schedule may be different. That’s because Netflix does region-by-region content licensing agreements.

You also have to consider the competitive landscape. Netflix originally held the rights to hugely popular shows like The Office and Friends, but they dropped Netflix’s library and joined services run by their parent companies. The Office is now streaming on Peacock and Friends is streaming on HBO Max. Once again, this refers only to the United States.

When a show or movie is due to leave Netflix, the schedule page will alert viewers when it will be removed so they have plenty of time to watch before it is gone. If a TV series or movie is set to leave Netflix next month, Netflix will display the message “Last day to watch on Netflix” on the content page at the top of the screen.

For Netflix’s own content, their TV series and movies are usually available in all regions and are usually not removed, though not always. For example, the first Netflix series, Lilyhammer, was removed from Netflix in the US in November.

It’s also worth mentioning that other streaming services, like HBO Max and Peacock, also regularly rotate content due to licensing agreements. The same goes for video game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus.

For more, check out GameSpot’s roundup of what’s new on Netflix in December 2022, including Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Witcher: Blood Origin, and more.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may earn a share of the revenue if you purchase something featured on our site.

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