Over the past several years, online streaming sites and binge-watching has taken the entertainment industry by storm. The fact that everyone can watch an unlimited amount of television shows and movies from any device with wifi and for a monthly fee was such an extraordinary innovation that it has become the norm for almost every household and college student around the world.
There are so many streaming sites around today (Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Red to name only a few), but the one that truly started this trend was Netflix. This service was originally founded in 1997 as a monthly DVD subscription service, but later launched its streaming concept in 2007. Netflix slowly but surely introduced the seismic trend of online video streaming and captivated viewers everywhere, even coining the phrase "Netflix and Chill." Now making their own critically acclaimed original content, Netflix has become the best and favorite streaming site when it comes to an organic mix of original and beloved entertainment.
But Netflix users still have all but one complaint about the streaming service- when shows and movies mysteriously disappear from the website.
Everyone has wondered at some point why certain shows and movies suddenly get removed from their Watch Lists, and no one has seemed to address this question. I, personally, have never seen someone tweet or make a Tumblr post about this information and let it go viral anywhere, so I decided to take the matter into my own hands.
Let us begin, shall we?
According to the Netflix website, the reason why some content gets removed from their site is primarily that the licenses they obtain from studios and content providers of those shows and movies. Netflix acquires the licenses for a certain period of time, and if they don't renew those licenses, the content has to be removed from the site.
So now that we know licenses are the real key to whether a show or movie is kept on Netflix, the next question to ask is how Netflix determines whether they should renew these licenses or not. When a license is due to expire soon, Netflix considers factors that make or break the big decision; these factors include if the rights to renew the licensing to stream are still available and the popularity and cost of a particular title, the content rights are currently exclusive to another company, or the streaming rights are currently unavailable.
It's as simple and complicated as that, but when do we know whether a show or movie's license is expiring?
Netflix has recently started including expiration dates for the shows and movies leaving within the next 30 days. If a show or movie has one, it can be found on the details page or the My List section if it is set to manual sort (this is for the US only). An expiring content notification is also available during the first few seconds of playback on most devices, but this is only for TV show seasons (or entire series) and will only show once per day.
Once you see this warning, however, there is something you can do to change Netflix's mind about renewing its license. If you visit Netflix's website, there is a "Request TV Shows or Movies" form where you can suggest up to three titles for Netflix to consider making a licensing deal with (and you bet I included my favorite childhood shows in this). By visiting the Netflix Media Center and their Facebook and Twitter pages, you can even read up on the latest information about the new TV shows and movies being added, as well as if Netflix Originals have been renewed for another season.
As someone whose major has to do with media, it does make sense that so much decision making and special attention to licensing deals are so pivotal in what shows and movies are featured on Netflix's streaming site. Of course, some people are still probably not happy that their latest binge-watched show got removed, but now it is super possible that they can renew its license (ahem, "One Tree Hill" fans).
Although these decisions are all business-y and have to do with legal matters, it does all come down to Netflix caring about what their customers want to watch. The famous term "binge-watching" has formed because so many people love Netflix and the stuff they provide for them; they are up and running because of people like us. If people want a certain show or movie back, the best thing they can do is to tweet them, message them and send in a form because the more demand it gets, the more they will consider investing in a license for it.
More viewers means more reason for getting a license, and more feedback means more chances to have Netflix invest in that show or movie. So go out there, suggest some content and let your Netflix fangirl/fanboy voice be heard.
Here is the link to request titles for Netflix: