Streaming Giants Weigh Costs of Big Licensed TV and Movie Libraries [The Hollywood Reporter]

Streaming Giants Weigh Costs of Big Licensed TV and Movie Libraries [The Hollywood Reporter]

BY RICK PORTER

December 18, 2023 | As the streaming industry has come down from its blank-check era, it has rediscovered a time-honored way to keep revenue flowing: licensing TV series and movies to other outlets. Acquired shows are among the most watched programming on streaming — it’s the year of Suits, after all — and shows with high episode counts help keep users inside a streamer’s ecosystem.

Just as reliable is the uproar when streamers remove shows for tax write-downs or other cost savings, whether it’s a signature series (à la HBO’s Westworld being removed from Max last year) or originals that seemingly never had much chance to find an audience (as with Disney+ and Hulu purging Willow and Y: The Last Man, among others, this year).

The perception, fueled by big content removals, is that streamers are ruthlessly paring back the number of movies and series available to users and at the same time raising subscription rates. But the data doesn’t back that up. Among the seven biggest subscription video-on-demand services, only one — Amazon’s Prime Video — has seen its overall catalog shrink between January 2021 and October 2023, according to an analysis by streaming aggregator Reelgood (and Prime Video’s library still dwarfs those of its competitors). Netflix, Peacock, Hulu, Max, Disney+ and Paramount+ all have net gains to their libraries over that time period.

Read more on The Hollywood Reporter.

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