Netflix’s library is getting smaller by the day and here’s why that’s important

Nowadays, watching Netflix is a fact of life. It’s as popular as cable television was fifteen years ago. And yet, while we visit Netflix daily to feed our binging needs (Friends and Gilmore Girls, anyone?), you might be surprised to learn that Netflix’s library is shrinking. Yes, that’s right, their library is smaller than it was ten years ago.

As reported by The Week:

While Netflix has continued to grow, its streaming library appears to be shrinking... [its] streaming library included close to 11,000 titles in 2012. Currently, the library contains about 5,300. Every month, many subscribers search for one of those "What's Coming to and Leaving Netflix This Month" articles without noticing that the exits are far outpacing the arrivals."

How did we miss this?

According to The Week, there are three reasons why this is happening:

1. The success of their original content.

Be honest. Most of us watch at least one original Netflix show or movie. Whether it is the haunting political noir House of Cards or our favorite feminist programs Orange is the New Black and the delightfully dark Jessica Jones, the streaming service createssome quality entertainment. (And we haven’t even touched on the genius that is Stranger Things.) So why should they store a bunch of old movies and TV shows when fans associate prestige shows with the streaming service?

2. Children’s entertainment

Those of us with younger siblings or kids know that Netflix is currently #winning children’s entertainment. Around half of their 75 million subscribers routinely view children’s entertainment. That’s huge. Plus, Netflix provides parents with control that cable television does not. As The Week notes:

"Parents can put their kids in front of entertainment without fear of commercials pushing unwanted products or awkward questions, or suddenly switch to grownup content in the afternoon. Netflix even provides a customizable filter to its library, ensuring that the kids can't switch over to Daredevil on their own."

3. Peak TV

Netflix originally began as a place where subscribers could find any film they wanted in an instant. But now, in the era of “Peak TV,” subscribers no longer want the “old” entertainment, the classic motion pictures, or sitcoms. They want the new prestige dramas and comedies. And by the time we get our fill of those, we have no more room for those old cinematic masterpieces. We’re full.