Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Movies - when the World Wide Web isn't so wide

I mentioned this on my Facebook Empoprise-BI page, but there's a slight chance that you didn't see this so I'll mention it again.

As I've previously noted, the introduction of a new technology is often accompanied by grandiose claims by the technology's proponents. For example, when the World Wide Web expanded our worlds beyond the world of CompuServe, people imagined that this would allow us to access EVERYTHING. In such an environment self-styled "founts of all knowledge" (heh) could truly BE founts of all knowledge, since everything was just a mouse click away.

This obviously affected brick and mortar businesses. Why go to the video store, with its limited selection of videos, when you could go online and get EVERYTHING?

Well, guess what? You can't get everything online. And according to Exstreamist and other sources, you're getting less and less.

While the exact number of titles available on Netflix in 2012 is unknown, sources who used to work for the streaming giant have told us it was close to 11,000 movies and TV shows....

We pulled September 2016 title counts from uNoGS in the US, showing that there are currently 5,302 titles available in the US Netflix library including movies and TV shows. What this means is that, over the past four years, the Netflix library has collapsed 50% in total title count since its peak four years ago.

(H/T to the Poke Salad Podcast, by the way.)

So if you're signing up for Netflix under the impression that you can see any movie you want, you're mistaken. But you've probably already noticed this, since there are numerous posts saying "Film [X] will no longer be on Netflix next month."

Netflix has its reasons to do this, because it is developing its own content, and that is preferable to the company rather than negotiating rights with third parties.

But even if Netflix were to change course and go back to hosting 11,000 movies/TV shows again...that STILL would only be a miniscule part of the total content available. According to HTMLGIANT, the total number of movies in 2012 (back when Netflix had about 11,000 movies/shows) was over 268,000. Granted, that's everything - even movies that were never formally released in theaters or on video - but the number still shows that even Netflix has never had more than 5% of the total available content.

And because of rights issues, the actual cost of uploading and hosting movies, and everything else, it's very likely that the World Wide Web - at least the legal part of it - will never contain every single movie.

So no, you can't have EVERYTHING.
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