Netflix may have more original programming coming in the months ahead, but the company is also going to be losing quite a few titles as well. According to InstantWatcher, a site that catalogs the comings and goings of Netflix's streaming catalog, the service will be saying farewell to 1,794 different titles in May. That number includes 15 seasons of South Park, old horror movies like Audrey Rose, and James Bond classics like Dr. No and Goldfinger. According to Slate, the drop comes because several licensing deals Netflix has in place with studios like MGM, Warner Bros., and Universal are expiring.
While it has been posited that the titles were disappearing because they were heading to the Warner Instant Archive streaming service, that appears to not be the case. Warner Instant took to Twitter today to emphasize that not only does it not carry titles from MGM or Universal — its catalog is Warner Bros.-only — but that the titles disappearing from Netflix wouldn't be coming over to Warner Instant Archive right away in the first place.
Of course, while the drop in titles may seem alarming, that churn is something longtime Netflix users are more than familiar with. The company lost a big bulk of high-profile titles when its deal with Starz expired in 2012, and of course for every Adaptation that's on the chopping block this month there's also a Barb Wire. That will be of little consolation to those that sit down to watch a movie only to find out that it's disappeared, however. If you'd like to see the full list of expiring films — and find out when they'll be going — you can check out InstantWatcher's full list.
Update: A representative from Netflix contacted us to share the company's thinking on the removal and its broader content strategy, saying that the goal is to be a focused programmer rather than a distributor of every type of programming. Netflix's statement is below.
The vast majority of the titles that expire on Wednesday are older features that were aggregated by Epix. 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.
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.