Netflix Loses 1,800 Titles as License Deals Expire

Service adds other content, changes interface

Netflix lost almost 1,800 titles this morning as license deals with MGM, Warner Bros. and Universal expired.

In what Slate referred to as “the great Netflix purge,” users have lost access to a bulk of titles, including Adaptation, The Delinquents, Sports Night and MGM's James Bond catalogue. Slate originally said that the Warner Brothers titles would become exclusive to Warner Archive Instant, but that report was incorrect. 

Netflix argued that this is not all that big of a deal. “Netflix is a dynamic service,” the company said in a statement. “We constantly update the TV shows and movies that are available to our members. We will add more than 500 titles May 1, but we also have titles expiring. This ebb and flow happens all the time.”

The service also announced that it will be adding another new original series to its catalogue after recent successes with original content. Hour-long episodes of Orange is the New Black will premiere on July 11. 

CAA TV literary agent Peter Micelli in March spilled the beans on the budget for Orange, which like all of Netflix’s original efforts, is more expensive to make than most broadcast and top-tier cable dramas.

“Orange is the New Black is just under $4 million [per episode],” Micelli said during the UCLA Entertainment Symposium. “They’re huge budgets shows…they’re doing things in a huge way.”

Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove costs about the same to make, by Micelli’s reckoning. David Fincher’s House of Cards is famously pricey, with a budget that started at $4.5 million a pop. Fincher went well over that allocation, Micelli said.

Last month, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he was considering discontinuing licensing deals with Viacom, which means users could lose content from MTV, VH1, BET and other networks before the end of May.

Netflix also rolled out changes in its interface this morning, to the ire of many users. The Instant Queue will be replaced by “Your List,” and users will see titles arranged by preference as well as other metrics like popularity.

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