May 1, 2013 7:10 PM
Netflix is losing at least 1,000 titles this month and adding 500 to its shifting library.
Changing deals with movie makers cause Netflix's library to be ever-shifting, though Netflix incorporates the popularity of flicks into its decision to renew licenses on movies and TV shows, and drops titles that are being watched less often than others.
The latest cull involves more than 1,000 titles, though there are conflicting reports as to how much "more than." InstaWatcher's independently curated list of Netflix titles puts the number of lost titles at 1,794 and has a rundown of flicks that will be part of the vanishing act starting Wednesday. (The site is experiencing difficulties loading, not surprisingly).
In a statement emailed to NBC News, Netflix spokesperson Joris Evers explained that most expiring titles "are older features that were aggregated by Epix." (Epix is an aggregator of movies, a joint venture of big studios including Viacom, Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate.) The start of May will see "more than 500 titles" added to the library, and that "this ebb and flow happens all the time."
Recent additions he says include "'ParaNorman' (Universal), 'Hunger Games' (Epix), 'Safe' (Epix) and 'Bachelorette' (Weinstein). Today we will also add 'Mission: Impossible 2,' among many other titles."
Some media outlets have suggested that fans of the classics could choose to follow their favorite oldies to streaming libraries like the Warner Archive that launched this month. But Warner Archive tweeted a response saying that they "aren't involved in Netflix's business decisions" and that the Warner Bros. titles dropped from Netflix are not due to appear in the library.
Netflix recently reported earnings that beat Wall Street expectations. Two million new U.S. movie buffs joined the service in the first months of the year, and Netflix CEO David Wells credited the original series "House of Cards" starring Kevin Spacey, which debuted in February, with fueling some of that success. (Netflix made the series available to non-subscribers for one month.)
Netflix's other original series include "Hemlock's Grove," which went live on April 19, a kids' animated series with DreamWorks and "Orange is the New Black," due to launch in July.