Netflix has been growing its selection of original series over the years. But at the same time, the overall catalog has been shrinking. Since 2014, the website's offerings have decreased by 32%. Now, there's a total of 5,532 movies and TV shows available, down from the 8,103 that made up the catalog in January of 2014.
It's not obvious why the catalog cuts were made. It could be that Netflix merely cut the most unpopular titles in order to save money, or that renewal prices weren't practical enough for Netflix to continue streaming those titles. Regardless, this has some users wondering: Is Netflix worth the subscription costs?
Original Content is King
Since 2013, Netflix has pushed more and more into original shows and movies. This year, the company plans to approximately double its yearly output of original shows to 31, releasing 600 hours of original content. Netflix is leaning heavily towards both original series and movies, and that's because CEO Reed Hastings believes in their value.
"The more we have incredible value, the more we have amazing originals, then we are going to be able to ask consumers for more to be able to invest more," he said.
External Threats to the Catalog
Netflix isn't necessarily trying to increase profits by offering less. There are external threats to the catalog with which the company has to contend. Negotiating for rights is a part of the process, and a major problem could be that the bigger TV networks view Netflix as a threat. This could lead to them charging more for the rights to certain shows, and Netflix viewers seeing fewer of those shows.
Further Price Increases Could Be on the Horizon
Even if you're happy at the current price point, the cost of the monthly streaming plan is already set to increase again this year, to $9.99 per month. While original content is a big part of Netflix's future plan, producing those titles isn't cheap. That expense might mean seeing a further drop in the amount of titles in the overall catalog in order to make room for Netflix's original visions.
Is Netflix Still Worth It?
It certainly seems like Netflix users are about to pay even more for access to fewer titles overall — which is no one's idea of a good deal. However, the company does offer a slew of critically acclaimed original shows, like House of Cards, BoJack Horseman, Orange is the New Black, and many more.
Netflix is also making a name for itself by providing a second chance for shows that major networks let die. Years after being cancelled, Arrested Development was brought back to Netflix for a fourth season. And Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had originally been slated to air on NBC, but the network opted to sell the series to Netflix, where it earned a 2-season order. So is the streaming service worthy of your money? Ultimately, your answer will depend on how you feel about original content.
Readers, are you upset that Netflix's catalog is shrinking? Or would you rather watch its original shows any day? Sound off in the comments below!