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Netflix allows license to 100s of Warner Bros. films to lapse

California Netflix subscribers are going to get a little less for their money starting today.

That is becuase today, May 1, is the day Netflix is allowing its license for hundreds of films from the Warner Bros. archives to expire. Hence, they will be removed from the site.


Many of the films are not particularly popular among users, but the titles being taken off the site do include some cinematic gems, like the 1967 James Bond film "Dr. No." Thus, Netflix subscribers who are very into film and like watching rare or obscure films might not be happy.

In a statement, Netflix explained that it "periodically reviews" its licenses and opts not to renew titles that are not frequently watched. There have also been rumors that Warner Bros.  wants to start its own streaming service, and so doesn't want Netflix to have access to its library, but a spokeswsoman for the film studio said that is not the case.

As film buffs may already know, Netflix is going through something of a rocky transition. It has really pushed its subscribers to opt for its streaming feature, rather than the traditional DVDs-by-mail subscription, and has embarked on creating its own content, like the series "House of Cards." Some elements of this makeover have been successful ("House of Cards" is a critical darling), but others have not.

It is quite evident that Neflix wants to become an engine of the entertainment industry in its own right, rather than a mere distributor of other companies' works. This may have implications for the future of California's well-established entertainment industry.

Source: Slate, "The Great Netflix Purge," Sam Adams, April 30, 2013