Heads Up: Your Netflix Selections Are Dwindling

Have you noticed?

After it mostly moved on from the whole DVD-delivery thing, Netflix made a name for itself as a place where you could stream any movie you wanted, on-demand. But if you look at its video lineup, it seems to be veering towards being the place for shows like House of Cards and Jessica Jones instead. Time (opens in new tab) reports that the number of movies available on Netflix has dwindled over the last few years. 

AllFlicks (opens in new tab), a website that tracks what shows and movies are available to stream on Netflix, crunched the numbers and found that its catalog has shrunk by more than 2,500 titles, or a whopping 31.7%, in less than two and a half years. In January 2014, there were 6,494 movies and 1,609 TV shows available for U.S. users. But as of March 23 of this year, those numbers were 4,335 movies and 1,197 TV shows.

Why the shrink? There are several good reasons for it. First of all, the competition to snag exclusive streaming rights to movies and shows has become much more fierce, with sites like Hulu, HBO Now, and Amazon Prime bidding for the best titles. Plus, Netflix is focusing on creating more original series and movies; they're also getting exclusive first-run rights on movies that have hit the film festival circuit.

Netflix did not immediately respond to MarieClaire.com's request for comment, but one of its top execs made it clear why some titles were going away. Last year, chief content officer Ted Sarandos told investors (opens in new tab) that original programming "has been more efficient dollar for dollar" than licensing other companies' TV shows and movies. 

But just because Netflix is streaming fewer movies doesn't mean they're not available anywhere. If you're looking for something specific, check out the site Can I Stream It (opens in new tab), which tells you how exactly you can watch The Breakfast Club (iTunes or Sony Entertainment) or Pulp Fiction (Netflix!) with just a click. 

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Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.