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    Happy ‘Streamageddon’ Eve: Why 85 Movies Will Vanish from Netflix at Midnight

    Written by

    Meghan Neal

    contributing editor

    Bad news for hardcore movie fans, TV bingers, and those of us planning on starting out 2014 hungover on the couch with our Netflix queue. Some 85 movie titles will vanish from the online video site’s instant streaming library at midnight tonight, including some excellent films whose absence are bound to totally bum subscribers out.

    The list of titles getting the boot first surfaced on Reddit and was later confirmed by cursory searches on the Netflix website, which posts a warning a week in advance when a title's about to expire. Fans are already bemoaning the loss of movies like Platoon, Braveheart, The Secret of NIMH, Requiem for a Dream, Top Gun, True Grit, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Capote, and Jarhead. (Full list below.)

    The question is, why is Netflix, infamous for its seemingly endless depository of crappy content, let such beloved films expire? Because licensing deals with studios expire, and the entertainment industry is jacking up content prices higher every year.

    Thanks to ongoing, complicated negotiations with studios and cable companies that would be more than happy to see online streaming companies go out of business, the video selection on Netflix Instant is a constant ebb and flow. Tonight's content purge isn't the first to deprive viewers. In what was dramatically termed "streamageddon" this May, the site lost some 1,000 titles overnight thanks to expiring license contracts with MGM, Warner Bros, and Universal. And a staggering 8 percent of its content disappeared last year when Netflix ended its partnership with Starz.

    Granted, the involved parties can always decide to renew those contracts, so the vanished titles aren't necessarily gone forever. I don't know what happens behind closed doors in Hollywood, but ostensibly part of what determines whether or not it's worth ponying up for certain content is popular it is with viewers—something Netflix tracks in meticulous detail. So if you're hot pissed that Titanic is no longer available for instant streaming, it's kind of your own fault.

    Actually, deprived fans looking for somewhere to direct their wrath should finger the blame at the diversifying streaming video marketplace. When Netflix was the only game in town it had leverage to negotiate license prices, but now Google, Amazon, and Hulu are getting in the game, competition is driving up prices. That new hot series will go to the highest bidder, and Google and Amazon have awfully deep wallets to play with.

    Content prices are skyrocketing—up 700 percent over the past two years. According to a company earnings report, Netflix spends about $2 billion a year on licensing deals with rights owners. Its bread and butter, unsurprisingly, is full seasons of current hit TV series for binge-viewing, and it pays up for that: Some popular shows charge as much as $750,000 per episode, Vulture reported.

    As such, a good chunk of the movies available online are there just because they were, well, available. Or cheap. Earlier this year I wrote about the shadowy world of B-movie "filler" flicks. Low-budget studios grind out content pre-ordered by Netflix based on its big data analytics. If the company can’t get the rights to Transformers, it’ll serve up a rip-off “mockbuster” like Transmorphers instead. If it learns viewers are hot for sharks and tornadoes this year, boom, Sharknado gets made.

    Climbing content prices also explains the recent push for original programming from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and YouTube. After all, it's not like Netflix doesn't have the money to shell out for quality content over quantity; the company's financial success just earned its CEO a 50 percent salary raise, to $6 million a year. But that’s not where it wants to spend it. Like most online media companies, it's looking to the future, trying to lock down a more sustainable business model—even if that means pissing off some viewers along the way.

    Here’s the list of titles expiring January 1, per Reddit:

    • The Rundown
    • Brick
    • Being John Malkovich
    • Back To School
    • Battle Of Britain
    • Born On the Fourth Of July
    • Braveheart
    • Body Of Evidence
    • Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo
    • Man On The Moon
    • Lionheart
    • 1492 Conquest Of Paradise
    • Killer Klowns From Outer Space
    • Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
    • FX
    • Do The Right Thing
    • Desperado
    • Up In Smoke
    • Can't Hardly Wait
    • Capote
    • Biloxi Blues
    • Seed Of Chucky
    • Jarhead
    • As Good As It Gets
    • In The Name Of The Father
    • Inside Deep Throat (documentary)
    • I'm Gonna Get You Sucka
    • In Like Flint
    • Hard Target
    • Foxy Brown
    • Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell
    • Gallipoli
    • Half Baked
    • Flashdance
    • 50 First Dates
    • For The Love Of The Game
    • The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas
    • The Bad News Bears
    • The Russia House
    • The Secret Of NIMH
    • Revenge OF The Ninja
    • Roman Holiday
    • Rob Roy
    • Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back
    • Remo Williams
    • Requiem For A Dream
    • Quigley Down Under
    • Pumpkinhead
    • Platoon
    • Once Upon A Time In Mexico
    • October Sky
    • Mystery Men
    • The Skulls
    • Titanic
    • Ronin
    • Romeo And Juliet (1968)
    • Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood
    • Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight
    • The Woman In Red
    • Top Gun
    • Street Fighter
    • TNT Jackson
    • Serpico
    • Seed Of Chucky
    • Scary Movie
    • Running Scared
    • Troll II
    • True Grit (1969)
    • War And Peace
    • Talk Radio
    • War Games
    • We Were Soldiers
    • What Dreams May Come
    • Windtalkers
    • World Trade Center
    • The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes
    • The Odd Couple (1968)
    • The Mask Of Zorro
    • The Great Train Robbery
    • The Faculty
    • The Dream Team
    • Best Of Times
    • Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
    • Species