Why Does Netflix Keep Getting Rid of Popular Shows?

Find out why Netflix removes popular shows and which ones are next


Aubrey Harrell, Editorial Board

If you’ve been subscribed to Netflix for a while, the routine of Netflix removing well known and beloved shows from their site and the outrage that follows probably isn’t much of a shock at this point. In the past year alone many notable shows have been bid farewell from the streaming site, and many more are soon to follow whether the general public likes it or not.

Among the shows and movies recently declared to be removed soon, the announcement that The Office will be departing from Netflix in late 2020 was particularly jarring, considering the show is seen as one of the staple shows of Netflix and takes the title as most viewed on the site. This comes after news that NBC is planning on releasing its streaming service soon, meaning the company finally made the move to take back the streaming rights for the show so they can debut it on their platform under their parent company, Comcast. Stuck in a similar situation, Friends is also announced to take its leave from Netflix in early 2020 after WarnerMedia recently announced its new streaming platform, HBO Max. Other shows and movies expected to be removed soon include Parenthood (Seasons 1-6), Portlandia (Seasons 1-5), The Bachelorette, Pocahontas, Mulan, Hercules, Magic Mike, The Dark Knight, and American Horror Story: Apocalypse

As for the explanation for removing shows from Netflix, it all comes down to either the data-driven statistics formulated to decide which shows are worth keeping and which shows are dead weight for the multi-billion dollar platform or “streaming wars” with other streaming services for streaming rights of shows. Netflix is a company, and just like any other company, it’s always seeking out opportunities for optimal profit. Many shows that have left Netflix in the past, such as How I Met Your Mother, House of Cards, and Law and Order, may come as a shock to subscribers of the platform considering how high profile and well known they are, but the statistics and algorithms don’t lie and when expectations aren’t met Netflix has no problem deciding not to renew the shows license with them, thus removing the show from the site. Companies that share streaming rights of a show with Netflix are also partly responsible for shows being removed, seeing as if a company with streaming rights for the show is no longer willing to continue to pay for Netflix to stream it or, conversely, they ask for too much money to keep the show on the site, it’ll be removed. When it comes to which shows to keep sometimes having the most publicity just doesn’t cut it. Scraping shows like The Office and Friends also allows Netflix to dedicate more of their budget towards their Netflix Original shows, which seems to be their main priority as of late as it’s a good investment. Focusing on Netflix Original shows is beneficial for the company, seeing as this allows all the earnings to go solely to Netflix and doesn’t require profits to be split with other companies that would also share streaming rights.

When it comes down to it, the shows Netflix decides to renew all depends on whether or not they believe the show still has a strong audience that will continue to watch and support it. If you see one of your favorite shows next in line for the chopping block, not all hope is lost just yet. On Netflix’s website, you can fill out a “Request TV Shows or Movies” form, wherein you can request shows on the verge of eviction for a license renewal. Whether or not Netflix will listen to these requests remains dubious, but for the sake of all the Friends and The Office fans out there, let’s hope they do.