Online streaming service Netflix has been bombarded with messages from angry fans after removing close to 2,000 movies.
The American provider is not renewing licensing agreements with three of Hollywood’s largest studios, meaning users now have far fewer films to choose from.
It comes as the result of Netflix choosing to let movies from MGM, Universal and Warner Bros fall out of its on-demand catalogue.
As a result a whole raft of favourites has been removed including college drama Cruel Intentions and US reality show Jersey Shore in a decision that, so far, only affects US customers.
Joris Evers, who is director of global corporate communications at Netflix, described the move simply as the sort of “ebb and flow” that happens all the time, adding that another 500 titles would be added to the service this month.
“We’ll forego, or choose not to renew titles that aren’t watched enough,” he said. “We always use our knowledge about what our members love to watch to decide what’s available on Netflix. Our goal is to be an expert programmer, offering a mix that delights our members, rather than trying to be a broad distributor.”
It comes after Netflix launched last year in the UK and Ireland, pledging to take on Amazon-owned Lovefilm with a mammoth range of instant entertainment.
At the time, its chief executive officer Reed Hastings said: “Now, you can enjoy as many great films and TV programmes as you want, when you want, where you want.”
But the latest move has provoked criticism from users who say it doesn’t marry with Netflix’s promise of unlimited entertainment.
One, referring to a previous purge by Netflix, said: “I could see this as being bad and possibly even worse than Starzageddon because it’s the start of so many more titles being dropped.”
Another simply said: “Love Film are going to er… love this.”
It’s not the first time this has happened to Netflix subscribers. Last year, the cable network Starz pulled its movies from Netflix streaming . It meant customers were no longer able to watch such big box office hits as Toy Story 3.
This time round though, the movies that are going may not be missed quite so much. While they do include teenage favourite Cruel Intentions, there are also lots of titles that the loss of probably won’t be mourned too much, including Deep Impact, Caged Fury and Howl.
The licensing issue has, however, led to fears that this purge may not be the last. Reed Hastings has already indicated he is thinking about the future of the television deal Netflix has with Viacom Networks, which shows programming from Nickelodeon and MTV among others.
Some users are remaining optimistic about Netflix’s offering though, eagerly anticipating what new titles are soon set to come their way. One tech forum user said: “Barb Wire you will be missed. Seriously though, I am more interested in what the 500 new titles are.”