United Internet

Netflix grows catalogue at the expense of recency

Between May 2018 and May 2019 Netflix’s US catalogue grew by 10%, 621 titles, a mix of movies and TV seasons. Much of that grown was driven by the addition of older titles. In the space of 12 months the proportion of titles accounted for by titles over 3 years old has risen from 48% to 52%. This equates to 544 titles, almost the entirety of the catalogue increase.


This strategy differs from that employed from 2016 through 2018 where Netflix curated the service’s US catalogue to increase the proportion of newer content available to subscribers. This strategy to improve the catalogue recency resulted in the reduction of the overall size of the available catalogue in the USA, albeit marginally, from 6,730 titles in May 2016 to 6,515, by May 2018. However, the proportion of titles that were older than 5 years available through the service fell from 40% in May 2016, to 32% by May 2018. This was accompanied by an increase in titles less than 3 years old from 31% to 35% over the same time period.


The increase in title availability has been entirely driven by the addition of titles from smaller and independent producers and distributors. Such companies provided an additional 643 titles in May 2019 over the 3,972 they accounted for in May 2018. The volume of titles for the major US studios has remained stable over that period. Notably the volume of titles stemming from Disney and Fox, reportedly removing titles from services competing with their direct to consumer service, has also remained broadly stable. Disney Fox accounted for 326 tiles available through Netflix in the USA in May 2018 and this has fallen by only 9% to 296 titles in May 2019.