Netflix Explains Why It Deletes TV Shows And Movies

Netflix Explains Why It Deletes TV Shows And Movies
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Have you ever attempted to re-watch a favourite movie or TV show on Netflix only to discover the title has mysteriously disappeared from the menu? You’re not alone. Each month, Netflix quietly removes hundreds of hours of content across all genres and categories.

While there’s always something new being added to the streaming giant’s library, there’s a bunch of content leaving. We now have an explanation as to why this keeps happening, direct from the horse’s mouth. (Not, not Bojack Horseman. A PR person.)

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Over on the Netflix Help page, the streaming giant helpfully explains why that show you wanted to catch up on is no longer available. (Which suggests they receive this question quite a bit.)

Here’s the full explanation as it appears on Netflix’s blog post:

Netflix licenses TV shows and movies from studios and content providers around the world, and those licenses can expire if we don’t renew them. Though we strive to keep the content you want to see, we acquire licensing rights for TV shows and movies for a certain period of time – not indefinitely – so some titles do leave Netflix. If a TV show or movie you love is leaving, it indicates that our licensing agreement with the content provider is about to end.

Whenever a TV show or movie is expiring, we evaluate whether or not to renew it using the same criteria we apply to potential new content. We consider factors like:

  • Are the rights to renew the licensing to stream still available?
  • What is the popularity and cost of a particular title?
  • Are there other seasonal or localized factors?

If a TV show or movie is renewed, it remains on our service for you to enjoy. If a TV show or movie is not renewed, we’ll give you a heads up on our website that it’s about to expire.

So there you have it. If a title leaves Netflix, it’s because it wasn’t popular enough, was too costly to renew or got snapped up by another streaming service prior to the expiration date.

The good news is that this only applies to third-party content (i.e. – the movies and TV shows that were produced by other studios.)

Your favourite Netflix Originals, like Black Mirror, House Of Cards, Stranger Things and BoJack Horseman, won’t be going anywhere. This includes any shows that have completed their runs or were axed by Netflix – the old episodes will continue to be stored indefinitely.

This article has been updated since its original publication.

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[Via Netflix]


  • At least there’s always piracy. Good ol’ reliable piracy.

    When I need to explain to my partner why Invader Zim, or Scrubs (NOW ON STAN!!) were so awesome, I need them right now.

    And it’s just unacceptable for me to have to listen to her repeatedly re-watch seasons 1 (amazon), 7, 8, and 9 (Stan) of Spongebob, so yeah… even though I’m subscribed to SIX SEPARATE STREAMING SERVICES, I still have to go source seasons 2-6 and 10-12 for myself.

    IP holders and distributors need to get on board or get bypassed, I have zero fucking sympathy for these groups not being able to sort their fucking shit out.

    • Exactly – either put the entire series on or don’t put any of it on your service. The Killing on Netflix for example – they just removed Season 1 – why???? I’ve had to acquire Season 1 by other means.
      With Stan, Netflix, Amazon and now Kayo for me – it is all starting to add up. (Still less than a Foxtel subscription though 😉 )

    • Yeah, nobody is ever going to be able to convince me to feel bad for pirating content that isn’t readily available legally. I will try to do things legally so the creators of content I like get paid, but if the rights holders choose to actively make it difficult for me to pay them for their content, then the message I’m getting is that they don’t care about taking my money anyway so I may as well pirate.

  • One reason I don’t bother, the other untill there is a way to aggregate providers without having to spend $10+ per provider a month I’m not interested in it.

    But as usual it’s the [email protected]) content owners and their stupid licencing practices that ruin it for consumers.

  • Kinda surprised this needed explaining, last I checked most content is licensed for 12 to 24 months. Nothing stays on Netflix forever (maybe their own produced content, but I can see even that getting the boot if no one is watching), I’ve had many series and movie on my watch list disappear (Father Ted was a cruel blow) and re-appear.

    Unfortunately its seems we’re going full circle with streaming services. What seemed like a great solution to curb piracy and offer affordable content direct to consumers, is now becoming as bloated and fragmented as broadcast television.

    Hell even Foxtel sports package subscribers don’t get access to an on-demand library as extensive as Kayo Sports, despite being near identical products offered by the same company.

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