Older movies on streaming services — all of the major services, not just Netflix — are very poorly represented in their archives. It’s like the licensing started in the late 70s and newer, increasing in volume after 2000.
As streaming subscription prices increase, subscribers will rightly analyze if the service they’re paying for has content they want to watch.
The back catalog of movies is thin if you enjoy the classics — someone should tell Netflix that there’s an entire century of movies that were made prior to the 2000s — and the number of films that are there seem to be shrinking at the expense of the Netflix originals the streaming service wants to put front and center.Why I’m canceling Netflix in 2021 | Tom’s Guide
Originals and exclusives are where the majority of streaming channels are focusing, especially Netflix (see: Does Netflix Release Too Many Originals? Maybe Ask New CMO Bozoma Saint John). They want to build their own historical library of titles you can only stream at their channel.
Is this a wise strategy for subscriber longevity and reducing retention? Yes. At the same time, their back catalog of movies is shrinking and as their prices increase, subscribers will need to ask the question the Tom’s Guide writer and his family asked: do they have enough of what we want to watch to stay subscribed?
Netflix had a very good year for originals in 2020. We watched more Netflix than any other streaming channel. It also polled highly among subscribers in at least one industry poll (see: Looper Poll Finds 73% Favor Netflix as #1 Streaming Service, Amazon #2, Others #3, Hulu #4)
Was it enough to keep you subscribed? Was for us. Would we like to see them add more classic movies to their back catalog? Yes. Will they? Probably not. Will having less of these movies make us more likely to unsubscribe? Probably not. What about you?