January 26, 2015

Netflix UK customers have a miserable January again

If you're a subscriber to Netflix, you've lost more than you've gained in January 2015. According to the excellent website New to Netflix there were 96 titles added to Netflix this month but a massive 284 removed. That sounds bad, but actually January 2014 was even worse, with 164 additions and a stunning 517 removals.
Over the rest of the year additions outpace removals most months, but the overall catalogue feels like on in decline.
The chart here is from Maft's nifty stats page where you can find other evidence that the service appears to be investing less in its catalogue now that it has a decent user base in the UK. And if you really want an eye opener, click on Maft's US Netflix stats - just under 7,500 titles available every month, albeit with some rotation compared with the UK's 2,700. As anyone with a VPN account will tell you, in the US (where the service is cheaper per month) it's a whole new ball game with loads of new films and series that we don't get a sniff of here.
I wonder where the service in the UK is heading now that Netflix has to compete with Amazon Instant Video and Now TV for film and series rights. Now TV is still overpriced and quality can be poor with live streaming, but Amazon's catalogue is increasingly impressive, and good value if you're a regular shopper on Amazon. So where's the Amazon app for TiVo? It was much talked about but never materialised. I can access it via my Sony TV but playback quality is patchy - even the SD buffers and stutters - but Sony assure me that will be fixed.


David Hill said...

I was a Love film customer so now have been moved to Amazon Prime. Luckily I can access it via my Samsung smart TV and have had no issues with playback. Must say it seems to be adding more interesting content compared to Netflix at the moment. All I want to watch on Netflix at the moment is Breaking Bad although the third series of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are promised and to be fair it is niche series like this that I find Netflix and Amazon useful. Most of the movies etc they offer I have already seen.

Jon said...

So.... if you look at the chart just below, Netflix have ADDED just under 400 titles in the last year and somehow this becomes a story about its decline!?? Even looking over 13 months, including two January's, which you acknowledge is an unusual month, there was STILL a small increase. It might be interesting to see the data for 2 full years, but, in the absence of that, the story is really a 15% increase in titles in a year!

I agree Netflix here is in a difficult competitive environment; Sky is hugely powerful and it must make it hard for Netflix to match its US offer. I agree Amazon is starting to look interesting, if they can improve their app provision. In fact, I'm starting to consider the day when I can drop my premium cable subscription for Freeview/basic cable plus 2 or 3 services like Netflix/Amazon.

There is some good stuff in your post but undermined by some very dodgy statistics!

Harkaway said...

Given the competitive environment I can see that Netflix does have certain challenges, but part of it is they don't really see that the market here is more diverse than young and middle-aged people using the service. Their collections could include far more classic stuff than they do now, both from the UK and the US. My husband's parents love cinema from the 30s to the present and there is little representation of this period. Amazon Prime has lots more stuff, including silent films which I enjoy. (There's also contemporary stuff from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa they might acquire at what I suspect would be competitive prices.)

My other criticism of Netflix (and to a certain extent of Amazon Prime) is that it is still hard to find stuff. For all the hype about algorithms, they need to include more categories like Westerns (my inlaws favourites) and breakdowns by decade.

Both would also be well-advised to add more TV content from earlier years. Perhaps some of it is tied up by Sky or someone else, but exclusivity to one platform isn't always part of the deal.

It would be great if Tivo had Amazon Prime as well, but I suspect that Amazon is trying to sell their Amazon Fire TV boxes or they would have made it available on more platforms (like the Roku).