Why Does Netflix Remove TV Shows and Movies?

Why Does Netflix Remove TV Shows and Movies?

Know how excited you were when you heard your favorite movie has arrived on Netflix? You just had to re-watch it, but you haven’t had the time to properly devote yourself to it, so you postponed it for some time. And just as you were about to watch it with your friends, you find out that Netflix has removed the movie from its roster. This can happen very easily if you’re not paying attention.

Netflix removes TV shows and movies from other production houses because of licensing agreements. In order to stream a TV show or a movie, Netflix has to pay a certain amount of money to the owners so that it can stream it while the agreement is valid. When the contract is over, Netflix can renew the license and continue streaming the content, or not renew it, which is when the content leaves Netflix.

The rest of this article will continue to elaborate on the above-given answer. We are going to explain the reasons in further detail, giving you several possible scenarios you should be prepared for. Then, we are going to dig into the technical details of these licenses, telling you just how much a movie stays on Netflix and when the content is removed. You’ll also find out where you can follow the latest on Netflix’s content.

Why does Netflix remove TV shows and movies?

The content available on Netflix can be divided into two large categories – original content and licensed content. Original content is that content that was produced and created by Netflix itself, meaning that Netflix owns the right to the content; the amount of such content was very small initially, but it has been expanding in recent years.

These TV shows and movies remain on Netflix all the time, as there are no licensing issues, as Netflix owns the rights to all of them. Now, let us see about the other group.

Licensed content includes TV shows and movies that Netflix streams on its platform, but which have been produced and created by other companies, who also own the rights to their distribution. Initially, this was the majority of Netflix’s content, but in recent years, the two major categories are becoming more and more balanced out.


In order to stream such content, Netflix has to approach the owners of these rights and make a contract with them, which allows them to stream the content on the platform. The two parties have to negotiate a price and a duration for the streaming, which is subject to the parties’ dispositions; there are no limitations at either end.

So, Netflix signs a contract with a company to stream its content, and after a while, that content leaves Netflix. This generally means that the initial contract has expired and that the two parties have not reached a new streaming agreement. The most common reasons for this are:

  • Netflix isn’t earning enough off the content and they want to negotiate a smaller streaming fee, which the owners do not agree to;
  • The owners realize that they can earn more money than before, so they want to negotiate a higher fee, which Netflix does not agree to;
  • Another streaming service offers the owners more money to stream their content, which is why the content transfers to a new platform, or;
  • The owners have decided to establish a streaming service of their own and they want to keep their original content to themselves.

The first three reasons are of a purely financial nature and they actually reflect the parties’ best financial interests in that aspect. The final reason is both financial and promotional in nature, as the owners don’t want their content to be available in other places; this has happened recently, when Disney decided to form Disney+, thus withdrawing its content from other services.

And these four reasons, when grouped together are why Netflix constantly changes its roster. The licensed content is always subject to new contracts and such contracts might not end up being signed, which is why Netflix has to remove the content from its platform; this is how other streaming services work, as well.

We shall now dive into specifics related to the schedules and times of Netflix’s content.

What time does Netflix remove its content?

For those who use Netflix on a regular basis, the dynamics of its content changes are not unknown and people have, more or less, gotten used to the whole concept.

Netflix does have an exact time when it changes its content, although not all content will remain on the service equally long; no, we don’t know how long a licensed show or movie will remain on Netflix beforehand, as the licensing deals are not public. We find out about this the same time as everyone else.

The content is changed on a monthly basis, i.e., always on the first of the month. Again, the amount of content leaving and being added varies, but the first of the month is always an important date. Now, you might have noticed that it’s not exactly like that where you’re at, right? Well, there’s a reason for that too.

Namely, Netflix’s old content become unavailable at midnight Pacific time on their final day in the USA. This is the referent time point no matter where you live, which means that the show might not leave immediately on the first where you’re at, but later or earlier, depending on your time zone.

The referent time still remains, but it’s you who’s experiencing it differently. Depending on where you are, this might give you some extra time to enjoy the TV show or movie, or less time to actually do it.

How long do movies and TV shows stay on Netflix?

This is actually a million dollar question to which we… sadly, don’t have a precise answer. Namely, as we’ve said above, the licensing agreements between Netflix and third-party owners aren’t public and only the parties know how long the license is going to last.

Of course, the license can be renewed so the TV show or movie might be on longer than originally planned, but if not – it will leave as soon as the license expires.

Is there a way of knowing this or anticipating this beforehand? There is not. When a new licensed work arrives on Netflix, there is no way of knowing how long it will stay on the platform.

There are some warnings directly before the TV show or movie leaves, so if a TV show or movie is leaving Netflix in the next month, the platform displays a “Last day to watch on Netflix” message in a few places to make sure you don’t miss out.

It can be seen on the ‘Details’ page of the TV show or the movie, or at the top of the screen for a few seconds when first playing the title.

Where can I follow what Netflix will remove next?

There are several ways through which you can follow Netflix’s ever-changing roster. Most of these are third-party sites or apps and we shall give you a list and some details here so you know how to get the latest on Netflix’s roster changes.

The primary source to consider is, of course, Netflix but, ironically, Netflix is not the most reliable and accurate source, as the platform itself doesn’t have a completely accessible and straightforward system of identifying content that is leaving the platform soon.

Sure, you can check out each show individually, but that is a very complex process, to be honest. The same goes for identifying new content. So, while being the best source of information, Netflix is not that accessible and the whole process is very time-consuming, which is why you should definitely avoid it if possible.

Third-party resources are also available and they will most often do the best job in identifying new content and content that is leaving the platform. For example, Reelgood has a great overview of most major platforms and a section that tells you about new arrivals, content that’s coming soon, and titles that are about to leave Netflix. It is also free to use.

New On Netflix works in a similar fashion, but is focused solely on Netflix; it will give you information on a show’s or movie’s expiration as soon as that information becomes available publicly.

Flixable, on the other hand, is more of a search engine than a library of data, but it will also provide you with all the necessary information. Finally, you can check out InstantWatcher, which is also great because it keeps an active Twitter feed with all the necessary information.

Other news sites, Fiction Horizon included of course, also offer monthly articles about new and old content on different streaming platforms, Netflix included, so you can also check those articles for specific information on new content and content that is leaving Netflix.

  • Arthur S. Poe has been fascinated by fiction ever since he saw Digimon and read Harry Potter as a child. Since then, he has seen several thousand movies and anime, read several hundred books and comics, and played several hundred games of all genres.