Netflix Inventory Shrinking?

In the last two weeks, about a dozen of the movies on my Netflix queue have been moved to the “saved” section, meaning they can no longer send me the movie. Netflix gives me a little message saying they don’t know when they’ll be able to provide it again.

Anyone know what’s going on? Is Netflix shrinking its inventory for some reason?

I have a huge huge queue, and that has not happened to any of my selections.

What types of DVDs are these? Old movies? Obscure titles? Or more common things?

I’ve been renting from Netflix for a few years now, and I’ve not seen that happen frequently or with any regularity - but then, most of my queue tends to be readily available. The one time I recall it happening recently was with a disc that had been discontinued by the studio (can’t remember the film), so I assumed whatever stock Netflix had had of the film was reduced by normal attrition (loss, damage, etc.) and they could no longer buy stock to replace it. I’m wondering if the titles in question were, in fact, discontinued or otherwise not easily available.

I think these are the ones that got moved down during this wave of ensavenings. Looks like there are several MST3K and anime DVDs in the mix.

FLCL: Vol. 1
Forbidden Planet
Glengarry Glen Ross
MST3K: Beginning of the End
MST3K: Mixed-Up Zombies
MST3K: The Sinister Urge
MST3K: The Wild Rebels
MST3K: Women of the Prehistoric Planet
Nosferatu the Vampyre
Now and Then, Here and There: Vol. 1
Perfect Blue
The Wizard of Oz: Silent Version
Wings of Desire

I’ve had Forbidden Planet on my queue since January, when my subscription started. It’s always been down in the “saved” (i.e., “doesn’t exist”) section, except for about two weeks where it was listed as “long delay”, before being bumped back down to “saved”.

Sounds like they finally got their hands on a copy, started sending it around to people who’d been waiting for it, then some dumbass killed the disc.

On my queue they will say how long a video is available. I mostly pay attention to the instant view section though. I’ve missed out on a few of those and they’ll drop to the saved section.

What I have noticed is since last July their instant view choices are getting worse and worse. they just don’t get much new in and when they do, it’s such old movies I’ve seen them on television by this point. This week two of the new arrivals was Heidi from 1937 and Cider House Rules from 1999. That was two out of five new for the week.

Haven’t had that problem, but I do have some DVDs that have been in my “saved” section for a long, long, looooong time. I’m starting to think they are never coming…

I think the MST3K pressings are relatively small, and hard to find after just a little while. I remember passing on copies of MST3K: The Movie when it was in the bargain bin, but a year later, they were going for $60+ on Ebay. They had a second pressing since then, if I recall correctly. I know better than to pass on a MST3K disk at a good price now. I guess the MST3K in your list got snagged up by fans, or damaged, and now they can’t replace them. The anime disks might have had the same fate.

It’s also possible there isn’t enough demand to justify keeping them in stock.

Netflix is probably going to have more issues in the future. Cable companies that offer Internet are starting to impose download caps. For those who can get Nexflix DVDs via download, this means Netflix will be out in the cold and will have to rely on the snail mail model.

Meanwhile cable can offer the On-Demand through it’s own service. This has the advantage as the cable company doesn’t have to ever wear out DVDs and replace them

The same thing happened to me after I added Blu-ray to my account. It seems that Netflix placed certain movies in the saved section if they were available as “regular” DVDs, but were expected to be made available in Blu-ray in the future.

What does that have to do with various DVDs being unavailable?

Yes! In the past two weeks Netflix has moved 29 movies from my queue into the “saved” box. Granted, all of these were either obscure older or foreign films. With this many titles becoming unavailable all at once it seems they must be doing a major inventory and database clean up.

My guess is that Netflix had a very limited number (perhaps 1-3 nationwide?) of these titles to begin with and, as the existing inventory becomes lost or damaged, the DVD cannot be replaced because it’s now out of print.

I notice this with my Amazon Wish List, too. I’ve added obscure titles to the list and after a year or two they become “discontinued by the manufacturer.” With Amazon there is always the reseller option, but it’s hit or miss whether out of print movies are going to be available used for peanuts or a king’s ransom.

I had a Netflix copy of “The Crimson Pirate” out, and I recommeded it to a friend. She added it and put it at the top of her queue. I sent the DVD back and got the notice that Netflix had received it. A week later, the movie’s status in my friend’s queue went to “Short Wait” to “Save”. Very strange. It seems to be out of print–although copies are available for a price. As suggested, I guess Netflix isn’t keen on spending $$$ to replace rarely-requested titles.

I had Strawberry & Chocolate (Fresa y Chocolate) in my queue for quite awhile but right before it made it to the top, it dropped into “saved, unknown.”


I noticed that “Entre Les Mus” (“The Class”), a 2008 release, which has been in my Saved queue for a while, is now grayed-out, meaning it is not available and it has not even been released on DVD yet. Amazon says it is to be released on August 11, 2009, but apparently Netflix thinks it will not be available through them.

I’ve noticed it too recently.

It’s sad that it appears that Netflix is going after a certain kind of DVD collection here.

It’s sad they they are ACTUALLY doing it.

It’s sad that I happen to be one of them.

I just checked my queue, which has a lot of MST3K movies on it, and the only thing Saved is a rather obscure British show about the Enigma machine. And I don’t have any big hit current movies on mine.

A bunch of mine did the same - I don’t think it’s that Netflix is weeding or anything, I think it’s that they’re going through and being honest that that “long wait” title is, in fact, gone and out of print.

Unfortunately, a lot of first discs of anime shows have this problem, which is not surprising when you think about it. People just get the first one and they lose it or whatever, and the rest don’t circulate so they don’t get lost because nobody can see the damned first one. I’ve been waiting for them to replace the first disc of Kimagure Orange Road for literally years.

This also just happened to me, again with several MST3K discs. :frowning: I understand the discs may really be unobtainable, and that there’s probably not much profit motive for Netflix to keep them around in the first place, but I’m still somewhat peeved. The prospect of being able to get most of MST3K and the old Dr. Who (many of those are currently listed as “short wait”, but who knows what it will be by the time I actually plow that far down the queue) was the major deciding factor that prompted me to upgrade my subscription recently.

I certainly hope this is just a case of Netflix being honest about what “very long wait” really means, as someone said above, and not that they’re moving away from catering to niche tastes.