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Netflix nixes 1,800 items from its library

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

More than 1,700 titles are set to expire from Netflix's streaming catalogue in the U.S. this May. (Paul Sakua/Associated Press file photo)

Hundreds of movies and television episodes have disappeared from Netflix, the popular movie and television streaming service, in the beginning of a month-long content purge.

According to Instant Watcher, a website that tracks all changes to Netflix's U.S. catalogue, a total of 1,794 titles will expire in May. Lost titles include classic James Bond films Dr. No and Goldfinger; Woody Allen's Stardust Memories;and 15 seasons of Comedy Central's South Park.

Canadian subscribers won't notice a a difference in their selection, as the change doesn't affect international Netflix service.  However, Canadian Netflix has a slimmer offering of content to begin with. Cross-border rights issues keep a large amount of content out of Netflix's offerings north of the border.

Slate reports that Wednesday's purge of content is mostly due to the end of licensing agreement between Netflix and Epix, another premium channel and on-demand video service. It's not the first time a large number of titles disappeared either; in 2012 Netflix's streaming deal with Starz ended, removing films such as Scarface and Toy Story 3 from its lineup.

"The vast majority of the titles that expire on Wednesday are older features that were aggregated by Epix," Netflix spokesman Joris Evers told CNET. Netflix was quick to promote new material that will appear in the place of what was lost. On Wednesday it tweeted that the films Pulp Fiction, Chinatown and Dirty Dancing will be added to its catalogue.

"Netflix is a dynamic service, we constantly update the TV shows and movies that are available to our members," the company said in a statement. "We will add more than 500 titles May 1, but we also have titles expiring; this ebb and flow happens all the time."

Earlier reports stated that much of the content was removed by Warner Bros. for the purpose of adding it to its own online streaming service Warner Archive. The official Twitter account of the new service responded by saying that this was not true, and that none of the material removed from Netflix will show up on Warner Archive any time soon.

Numbers released in April revealed that Netflix added more than 2 million U.S. subscribers in the first three months of the year. Part of the credit went to the service's original programming, including House of Cards and Hemlock Grove. Netflix will also be the sole host of the return season of Arrested Development when it arrives May 26, which might be enough for many to hold off cancelling their eight-bucks-a-month subscription alone.

Do you subscribe to Netflix? Would you un-subscribe if your favourite television shows or movies were removed from the service?

Tags: Arts and Entertainment, POV

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