The Streaming Purge: Behind the Wave of Library Content Removals and Its Impact on the Creative Community

Only 10 episodes The Gordita Chronicles HBO Max produced the comedy before it was canceled last summer amid tensions over live-action kids and family programming. But at least creator Claudia Foresteri feels good knowing that new viewers can still find the show on the streamer.

“I’ve gotten several DMs from people who watched it on American Airlines flights, where a few episodes are still available and they finished the season on HBO Max,” Forestieri told Deadline.

But the consolation prize of keeping the show on the platform was short-lived: less than five months later The Gordita Chronicles Cancelled, all 10 episodes were removed as part of a library cleanup that affected dozens of programs on HBO Max.

At least Foresteri wasn’t alone in getting the boot. In the last few months, there have been many shows from various platforms including Westworld, Raised by Wolves, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Fboy Island, The Nevers, Love Life, Mix And The Gordita Chronicles by HBO Max; will not, Elizabeth is becoming And step up by Starz, and Jordan Peele’s reboot The Twilight Zonewith Real World: Homecoming, Interrogation, Coyote, No activity, guilty party, Kidding, Super Pumped, On Becoming a God in Central Florida, American Rust And Harper House by Showtime and Pantheon, 61st Street And Moonhaven by AMC+.

The library content slim-down is probably not over yet; Guess Disney could be next. Just last week, CEO Bob Iger said Disney was targeting $5.5 billion in cost savings, including $3 billion in non-sports related content. It’s unclear whether the $3 billion would involve removing library titles from Disney+ or Disney-controlled Hulu, but it’s considered a possibility.

Netflix can also come into play. So far, streamers have been removing titles when license agreements expire, as was the case with yesterday’s news that Netflix will bid farewell to the 20th TV/Disney-production. Arrested Development. Otherwise, the contents of the library have not been extensively cleaned.

But that may change.

Netflix has billions of dollars in its library doing nothing; Shows come and go and then they just sit there,” speculated one industry insider. “I think one thing we’re all realizing as an industry is this whole idea that whatever you produce, you put it in one place forever and ever. For $15 a month, it’s not possible to make a viable business there because the numbers don’t add up.”

Removing the titles may offer an attractive write-off for media companies, but it’s also generating a lot of willpower among creatives who are frustrated by the inadequacy of streaming residuals — a key talking point in the upcoming WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Speaks

“I understand the nature of the business and how everything is consolidating and changing and so on, but it’s really affecting the creative process. That is the most annoying and frustrating part of it,” said a heavy hitter agent. “It’s not like my clients are doing these streamer shows and making a lot of money on residuals. It is an opportunity for exposure and to do their best work.

“We got to a point, thanks to streaming, where people thought their show might get canceled but at least if it’s sold to Netflix, it’ll always be there,'” another high-ranking agent added. “At least what they did was still existing on Earth.”

So who decides which shows should get the boot? Bean counters, mostly, those who consider the cost of carrying library materials based on how much is paid for residuals, contributions, and royalties. This is weighted against viewership and a title’s ability to entice more customers – ie the office On the peacock, for example – and create less churn. Before Showtime dumping headlines, Chris McCarthy, president/CEO of Showtime and Paramount Media, said that “we will be pulling investment away from areas that are less than 10% of our vision.”

It describes most of the series that have been taken off streaming for write-off purposes. what come WestworldMost of the removed titles were short-lived, being canceled after a season or two. westworld, on the contrary, It ran for four seasons but was very expensive, although HBO was still on the hook for paying several million dollars when the series was decided to be pulled from HBO Max as costs escalated over time. (For HBO/HBO Max parent Warner Bros. Discovery, which set the tone for divesting current streaming content, there was an additional incentive, a one-time restructuring charge the company could take to determine pricing after the merger.)

“How much eyeballs are they looking at, when and how long and if that title somehow plays into the customer deciding whether to stay subscribed or not to cancel,” explained a longtime business affairs executive about the selection process. “They can also see eyeball quality. Maybe it’s a demo that would be better served by placing the title on an AVOD (advertiser-based) or FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) platform and monetizing it by getting ad revenue.

This must have happened with the WBD shows that were pulled off HBO Max Westworldwith Nevers And F-Boy Island Warner Bros.-branded channels will join Roku Channels in the spring, while Fox Corp-owned Tubi will launch 14 WB-branded channels and 225 titles on its platform. Westworld, Raised by wolves And F-Boy Island (WBD is also exploring launching its own FAST service.)

Broadcasting on a FAST channel may not be as sexy as streaming on a platform that carries reruns. game of thrones And People with the best singing voice, It still brings in revenue. This has led some industry observers to speculate that other streamers, including Netflix, might consider absorbing the distribution of FAST channels that cost millions to produce and currently sit in libraries gathering dust (and with almost no eyes).

Ending up on a FAST channel means someone’s hard work is seen.

“Creatives will potentially participate in downstream revenue from licensing and residuals, as opposed to titles sitting in a streamer’s back catalog that no one is watching,” said the business affairs executive. “Where are these meh The title used to live in the old days anyway….on the shelf of the company library. So nothing is better than nothing, I guess.”

That may not be good enough for some creators, especially those who have been yanked before new series have had a chance to stream. “I had a couple of clients in the last few weeks basically asking about a provision discussion. Like, if the production is done, there has to be some guarantee that it has to be shown within a certain period of time,” the high-powered agent said. “I haven’t seen that deal yet but it’s getting to the point where people are so turned off by the idea, they Like, ‘We’ve got to try to figure out some kind of guaranteed show.”

“It’s a tough ask and a tough get,” responded the heavy hitter agent. “But there has to be something, or why are we working for streamers?”

Forestieri — who was recently among the creators who joined WBD in blasting WGA West about cutting programs from women and people of color — would prefer not to focus on how The Gordita Chronicles And its unique brand of storytelling is over.

I hope we can follow in the footsteps of one of my favorite comedies of all time, Freaks and GeeksAnother show gone too soon,” he said of the ’90s sitcom that was eventually picked up by Hulu in 2021.The Gordita Chronicles gave audiences a rare, light-hearted look at what the American Dream looks like for a Latino family. It was also unique in showing the coming-of-age experience through the eyes of a vulnerable girl who also defied traditional standards of beauty.

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