Red colored banner with text "Netflix"

Netflix Cuts Catalog in Half – Not Sure Anybody Cares!

“its gone! its gone! alert! alert! help! police! murder!”
“what’s gone?”
“i don’t know but its gone!!!”

While there’s a name for the hours we sink into streaming our favorite shows and movies, there’s not really one for the hours we spend scrolling through catalogs to find just the right title. Swiping through Netflix can often feel fruitless, and there’s a reason. According to a report by Exstreamist, which cites sources close to Netflix, its catalog has shrunk by 50 percent since 2012, from roughly 11,000 titles to 5,302.


“AND THERE’S A REASON” he screams desperately as he seeks for a conclusion to the article!

I have never once heard anybody say that they could not find something to watch on Netflix because there were too few choices… never ever.

What I have heard is:

  • I’ve watched it already
  • I don’t want to watch that genre
  • I don’t want to commit (because of length / distractedness)

And you know, when presented with so many options it can be difficult to make a choice and stick with it.

Do I want to try watching that old Jackie Chan movie I’ve never heard of or do I want to watch Friends again? Do I try a new Netflix original or do I watch Forest Gump? Do I want to relax with an old comedy or some old cartoons? Who the hell knows… not you apparently…

And honestly, it’s not like people were ever good at making choices to begin with… why on earth would Netflix change anything about that.


Netflix’s Business

I’m quite sure that Netflix cut its catalog in half by trimming down on programs that attracted very few watchers to begin with… It honestly has always sounded like Netflix is transitioning away from a quantity over quality approach (used presumably to attract people) to a quality over quantity approach (presumably to keep people).

And considering that Netflix still has FIVE THOUSAND titles on offer… I doubt consumers will be complaining about the 5000 obscure titles that are now gone. I do think they’ll continue complaining over Netflix not including popular media like King of the Hill though.

At the end of the day this is Netflix being Netflix… and like with any business, trimming is to be expected.


Some Fun Background

Is the famous ‘paradox of choice’ a myth?

Iyengar’s initial study and her many follow-ups made a real contribution to our understanding, such that a principle that was once invisible — indeed impossible — a decade ago has become “widely shared” by now. Does choice overload always occur? Of course not. Does it affect all people, in all domains of decision making? Of course not. Does it matter how options are organized and arrayed? By all means, yes. Does adding options improve decision making by making salient features of alternatives that might otherwise be ignored? Sometimes, yes. But sometimes it has a perverse effect, by making salient features of options that ought to be ignored.

The trick is to find the middle ground — the “sweet spot” — that enables people to benefit from variety and not be paralyzed by it. Choice is good, but there can be too much of a good thing. Adam Grant and I recently published a paper suggesting that this “too much of a good thing” phenomenon is pervasive in psychology.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.