For years, streamers touted the fantasy of unlimited choice. But Netflix and HBO Max’s purges of movies and shows suggest a different model
For years, streaming services presented consumers with the prospect of virtually unlimited choice, the idea that almost any movie or show ever made and endless original content could be theirs with the click of a button. Suddenly, though, as HBO Max made headlines for the dozens of shows and individual films that had quietly disappeared, that concept may be little more than a fantasy — and may also reflect a shift to newfound cost consciousness in the streaming industry.
Netflix in the past has touted “unlimited movies, TV shows and more,” Paramount+ promised a “mountain of entertainment,” and HBO Max upon its launch was described as “Where HBO Meets So Much More.” But as Netflix has lost subscribers and Warner Bros. Discovery looks to trim costs, the new buzzwords in streaming have become “curation” and “discoverability.” That means prioritizing higher quality content, less clutter to make it easier to find what you want to watch and not flooding your service with everything under the sun in the hopes that the right audience will both find it and stick around.