In case there was still any doubt as to why Netflix (along with competitive streamers) is investing more than ever in original content, here’s a stat that underscores the need: Netflix’s U.S. catalog of movie titles has declined by 40% since 2014, according to an analysis by Streaming Observer.
As of November 20, Netflix U.S. offers 3,849 titles — down from 6,494 as of March 2014, per the analysis.
On the other hand, despite the same competitive dynamics driving the scramble for movie rights, Netflix has managed to rebuild its TV show library in the past few years.
While its TV show offerings dropped from 1,609 in 2014 to 1,197 in 2016, they currently stand at 1,784.
“To its credit, Netflix saw the writing on the wall early on, and started to shift its focus to developing its own original movies and TV series rather than licensing outside content, spending billions over the last several years in the process,” notes Streaming Observer.
However, the struggle to keep up has gotten increasingly intense and expensive, and will only get worse — for all concerned — as the SVOD launches from big players including Disney, Apple and Comcast/NBCUniversal roll out. Netflix is of course more challenged on the TV front, as well as movie front, as its powerful new competitors take back rights to viewership-driving series including "Friends" and "The Office."
Netflix’s original content investments include the whopping $159 spent to produce the just-released blockbuster “The Irishman,” which is so far generating strong streaming viewership numbers, as just reported by Nielsen.