Netflix’s expiring movies: What to watch tonight if you’re staying in


The Netflix logo is shown on an iPad in Encinitas, Calif., April 19. (© Mike Blake/Reuters)
December 31, 2013

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? If you’re not exactly the dancing and champagne type, then seize the evening and do something you won’t be able to do on Wednesday: stream “Titanic” on Netflix.

Or “Top Gun.” Or “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” All of these titles will no longer be available on Netflix once the new year rolls around, and are some of the more notable titles on a list of expiring Netflix films circulating on Reddit this week.

While we haven’t checked out all of the 90-odd titles on the list, those listed above, along with others such as “Roman Holiday,” “Requiem for a Dream,” and the Canadian TV show “The Kids in the Hall,” all appear to be available only until Jan. 1, 2014.

It’s completely normal for Netflix — and other streaming sites, for that matter — to see catalog turnover as different rights agreements and contracts expire. In a statement, a Netflix spokeswoman said “due to the nature of licensing deals and windows renewing/expiring, we constantly have titles coming on & off the service.” The firm also pointed to another Reddit thread of notable films being added to the service on Jan. 1, including “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “Days of Thunder” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Of course, maintaining a good catalog with a broad range of movies that people actually want to watch is key for any streaming service, which is why it’s always big news when one lands a plum distribution deal with a major studio. It’s also why streaming services are working hard to create original content such as Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” or Amazon’s “Alpha House.”

As of June, The NPD Group reported that Netflix held an estimated 89 percent share among those who watch streaming television online — down from 93 percent in the same period last year, as Hulu and Amazon picked up share.

The firm may be looking to get an edge over competitors on price and content: the Associated Press reported that Netflix is testing new price tiers that knock a dollar off the standard charge if subscribers agree to limit how many screens they stream to at a time. The report said that a one-screen plan in testing costs $6.99 per month, rather than the standard $7.99, which allows for two simultaneous streams. A three-screen plan, also in testing, costs $9.99 instead of the four-screen $11.99 plan that the firm announced in April.

The company confirmed that it is testing new tiers of plans with certain customers, but has not yet determined if it will roll it out officially.

“Not everyone will see this and we may not ever offer it generally,” the statement said. “Whether we offer any of these tiers generally will depend on the results of the tests.“

Netflix has had a strong year on the market, rising over 300 percent for the year. Shares closed at $368.17 per share on Tuesday.

(Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post.)

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Follow The Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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