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Netflix to actually start telling customers which titles are about to expire

As befits a new God, Netflix works in mysterious ways. The streaming service has made it quite difficult to browse the true depths of its catalog, instead showing customers the same 20 or 30 titles in an infinity loop of hybrid genres like “emotionally affecting witty sci-fi epics” and “dark foreign horror-comedies featuring a strong female lead.” Outside of these categories, users have to look for titles individually, which Netflix discourages by punishing those who think they know better than Netflix with a clumsy search function.

Netflix is also cagey about when titles leave its system—it used to include an expiration date on movies and TV series that were about to disappear, but quietly scaled back that feature in 2013. Now, users have to visit an individual title’s page on Netflix.com in order to see when it might leave the Netflix system, and even then the warning only appears three weeks before the expiration date. Meanwhile, a cottage industry of blogs and blog posts tracking the expansion and contraction of Netflix’s catalog has appeared to compensate.


But Netflix is about to shut down those posts by introducing what it calls the “Last Call” section of its monthly newsletter. There, it will list titles that are about to disappear from the service so subscribers can “play catch up on old favorites, and get excited for what’s coming next,” according to a press release announcing the move. “Last Call” will still feature a limited selection of the many titles Netflix removes every month, meaning Netflix is still dictating what it thinks you should watch, but it’s a start. Films and TV series will appear on the “Last Call” row the month before they are about to expire, along with recommendations of movies that are kind of like that movie you wanted to watch, should you not get around to it in the next month (it happens).

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