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Here’s what happens when the big media companies take their content off Netflix

The streaming media pioneer could lose about a fifth of its content hours.

Is Netflix haunted by the specter of Lost Content?
Netflix

Following Netflix’s lead, nearly every major video company is moving into the streaming media business. And that means also moving their content off Netflix and onto their own services.

Disney — along with its soon-to-be purchased Fox — is launching its streaming service, Disney+, next year and pulling its content, including Pixar and Marvel films, from Netflix. The combined AT&T/Time Warner, which has licensed its popular TV series “Friends” to Netflix, may also pull its movies and TV shows from Netflix when its own streaming service gets off the ground at the end of 2019. Comcast, which is currently a part owner of Hulu but is likely to start its own streaming service in the next year or so, would pull content off Netflix to launch that one, too.

All of which means Netflix could lose a large chunk of its content. Comcast, Fox, Disney and WarnerMedia currently account for about 20 percent of Netflix’s content library, according to data from TV industry research company Ampere Analysis. This calculation is based on the number of hours of shows and movies that Netflix carries from a given production company. It doesn’t take into account show popularity, which means that 20 percent number likely underestimates the value of that content to Netflix. See Netflix’s new $100 million deal for a single WarnerMedia show.

Netflix wouldn’t confirm or comment on the third-party data.

That potential loss is part of the reason Netflix has ratcheted up its original content spending lately, with shows like “The Haunting of Hill House” and “Narcos.” Netflix is expected to spend $12 billion to $13 billion on content in 2018 — most of which will go toward original content — more than what traditional content creators like HBO and Disney typically shell out. As of October, original content made up 8 percent of content, measured in hours, on Netflix, according to Ampere.

It’s also possible that other content makers like Viacom and CBS — which already has its own streaming service, All Access — will pull their content from Netflix in the future as well.

Update: An earlier version of this article said Netflix’s $12-$13 billion in spending was for original content when it should have been for all content.

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