How does Netflix get TV shows and movies to stream online?

Netflix partners with content providers to license streaming rights for a variety of TV shows and movies. We also produce our own original content such as Orange is the New Black, BoJack Horseman, Marco Polo, and many more.

I’m looking for a TV show or movie, and I can’t find it. Why doesn’t Netflix have what I am looking for?

Netflix works with content providers, distributors, producers, and creators to acquire licensing for movies and TV shows to stream on our service. When we do not have content available to stream, it can be for a few different reasons, including:
  • The content rights are currently exclusive to another company.
  • The streaming rights are not available to purchase from the content provider.
  • We choose our content based on many factors and statistics about popularity, cost, seasonal and other localized factors, and availability.
    • These factors also help determine acquiring rights to some, or all seasons for a particular show.

My favorite TV show or movie used to be on Netflix, but now it's gone. Where did it go?

​Most of our TV show and movie licenses can expire if we don't renew them, so we'll give you a heads up on our website when something's about to expire. For more information about how to find out when TV shows or movies are leaving, see How do I find out if a TV show or movie is leaving Netflix?

Why do titles leave Netflix?

  • When the licensing rights are acquired, it is for a period of time, and is not indefinitely on Netflix.
  • When the TV show or movie is no longer available, the licensing agreement has ended with the content provider.
  • Whenever a TV show or movie is expiring, we evaluate whether or not to renew it using the same criteria as we do for new content.

Although Netflix makes every effort to license complete series of both TV shows and movies, the rights to each particular title are separate and may not always be available for Netflix to license at the same time.

Why is a TV show or movie available in one country but not another?

There are many reasons a TV show or movie may be available to audiences in one country or region but not another.

Regional tastes
We do our best to shape our service by region. For example, some TV shows and movies that are popular with our members in the United States may not be desirable to members in the United Kingdom, even though they're both English-speaking regions.

Multiple rights owners
More than one studio or distributor may own regional rights for a TV show or movie. For example, we may sign an agreement with a distributor to show a US-made movie in Latin America before we've signed an agreement with the studio that made that movie to show it in the US.

No rights available for a region
Sometimes a TV show or movie simply isn't available in a particular region. We can't buy a TV show or movie license for a specific region if no one is selling it.

Why are some Netflix original TV shows or movies available in one country, but not another?

With most Netflix originals, we own all the rights to the title and can stream anywhere in the world. Originals we can stream anywhere include: Narcos, BoJack Horseman, Master of None, Beasts of No Nation, and more.
  • Some Netflix originals are not available in all regions.
    • When some Netflix originals were created, Netflix was only available in a small number of countries, so we did not secure the licensing rights for all global regions at the time.
    • Despite the TV show or movie being a Netflix original, other companies may have the rights to stream it due to content deals made prior to launching in that particular region.
    • Depending on the region, Netflix may not get the licensing rights for an original series for many years.

Some Netflix Originals that we do not yet have global licensing for include: Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, and Lilyhammer.

How does Netflix know what TV shows and movies I’ll enjoy?

Netflix uses a variety of methods to help members find great TV shows and movies they will enjoy. Some methods are through the help of Netflix Ratings & Recommendations, others are less noticeable to the member.

Netflix uses metrics like viewing and searching habits to help determine which TV shows and movies we suggest to members and which TV shows and movies we may want to license or acquire in the future.

How does Netflix do this?
Netflix pays attention to what people are actually doing and watching on Netflix to better understand what a member may enjoy and make personalized recommendations. Whether it’s looking at which new series you’re watching, how much of an episode you finish, what types of genres you tend to watch the most, or what language you prefer watching in, Netflix is constantly using our members own preferences to offer up TV shows and movies we think they’ll love.

All the information Netflix looks at is kept private and used only to ensure that Netflix can better understand what each member enjoys -- so you spend less time searching and more time enjoying great titles on Netflix!

When will my favorite TV show or movie be available to watch on Netflix?

Though there is no set schedule for acquiring new content, we are constantly adding new titles for members to enjoy.

We update the New Arrivals page to let you know what's new on Netflix as soon as content becomes available for streaming. You can also take a look at Netflix on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more details on new arrivals and specific release dates.

Have a suggestion for a TV show or movie? See Suggest TV shows or movies.