Netflix (NFLX) has lost more content.
On Tuesday, Disney (DIS) announced that it will be pulling its shows and movies from Netflix to start its own streaming service, meaning that subscribers have a pretty limited window to keep enjoying The Rock's set of pipes. (The man truly can do everything.)
In part this is a problem with atomization among online services and content. As networks and distributors keep fragmenting into ever-smaller online platforms, audiences increasingly have to choose which services they'll subscribe to and which content they'll miss. Like Game of Thrones? Maybe you should get Amazon (AMZN) streaming. Want to keep up on the latest TV shows? You might have luck with Hulu. That is unless you'd like to see the newest Star Trek, for which you'll need CBS All Access.
It goes on and on, and the monthly subscriptions keep mounting.
Netflix used to be the exception. With Netflix, we could just sit back to watch movies and TV shows without needing to worry about the patchwork quilt of options that is modern media.
Truth be told, Netflix's streaming movie selection has never been that great, but you could usually find something to put on. Besides, that's not really what most of us wanted anyway.
The real value of Netflix, especially its streaming service, has always been binging. Thanks to its vast selection of TV shows it was easy to just throw on something and keep the show streaming. How many hours of The Office have we all racked up? Who didn't discover Arrested Development this way?
Netflix has always been good for finding something to watch and absolutely great for background noise. It's that comforting, easy thing to flick over to when you don't want the apartment too quiet or when you want something uncomplicated to watch over Friday night pizza.
At least, it used to be.
As the company invests more in its original programming, third party content has taken a nose dive. You don't need research to back that up. Anyone who uses Netflix on a regular basis has seen this first hand. I used to watch Psych, but not anymore. Said goodbye to Lost too. Better Off Ted was fun while it lasted, and so, too, was apparently all of the Fox Network's lineup.
But there is research. In 2013, the service offered almost 9,000 individual titles (including TV series). By 2016, a period of just three years, that had dropped to 5,000. In part, this is driven by studios that want to capture all the profits off their titles, building their own streaming services that cut out the Netflix middleman. In larger part, though, it's because Netflix has redirected all the money it used to spend licensing A-list programming and now spends it on original content.
And that's hurting the American family that wants to kick back, relax and enjoy some of the best cinematic offerings -- including Disney movies.
This would be bad enough if it was just about putting quality over quantity, with Netflix choosing to give us one outstanding season of Stranger Things instead of ten-plus lousy seasons of the Big Bang Theory. Don't get me wrong, the adventures of Eleven and crew are great, but there's a pretty hard cap to how many times I can watch those same eight episodes.
But the dirty little secret about Netflix's original programming is that most of it is… well, pretty bad. Mediocre at best.
Do we really need to trade "Iron Man" for Iron Fist? How many seasons ago was House of Cards good?
And can we all agree that Girlboss deserves a space in that landfill next to "E.T." the video game?
Yes, Netflix has produced a few great shows, but a lot of what they pump out is… well, crap. Do a quick search for "Netflix Original Programming." You will get Orange is the New Black and Jessica Jones, but you'll also get Bloodline, Marco Polo, Hemlock, Love, F Is for Family and The Ranch.
I'm happy that the network is trying new things, but it's doing it at the expense of the entire reason to have Netflix in the first place.
So, just in case CEO Reed Hastings is reading this: Netflix, please stop trying to be an original network. Get back to what you do best.
Because there are too many services to subscribe to them all, and Amazon does have Game of Thrones. Don't take away our "Moana."
Could your favorite Netflix "Original" Disappear from Your Queue Next?