Before the power went up, you had to watch programs and movies when they were broadcast on television. Now you can watch things whenever you want ̵1; that’s not entirely true. Movies and TV shows regularly disappear from streaming services.
HBO Max’s launch titles are already disappearing
HBO Max had a star-studded launch at the end of May 2020. HBO promised – and delivered – movies as a whole Harry Potter series and a variety of Warner Bros. movies, including many Batman movies and The Hobbit trilogy.
It’s pretty nice to have all these movies available for streaming, right? That would be it.
Warner Bros. pulled all the movies from HBO Max on July 1, 2020, which meant you really only had the month of June to watch them. Who would have thought that so many of the big movie names’ launch movies would only last for a month?
Now, all eight Harry Potter movies are leaving HBO Max on August 25, 2020. At least HBO subscribers will have had three months to stream them.
Back in 2018, Warner Bros. signed the rights to Harry Potter to NBCUniversal through 2025. People speculate that all eight Harry Potter movies may appear on Peacock, NBC’s new streaming service.
Blink and you will miss it
Everything in life is temporary, especially movies and TV shows on streaming services. Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Peacock and others purchase rights to stream movies and TV shows for a limited time.
If a streaming service wants to renew these rights, there is a new negotiation. The licensee may request more money and the streaming service may be weak. Another streaming service may offer a popular show to make itself more significant. (friends is popular, and it’s only on HBO Max! Office is huge, and it’s just on Netflix!)
A streaming service may also just decide that there is no point in paying for the rights to continue streaming a movie for another year when most of the interested subscribers have already seen it.
More streaming services, more content competition
Every company wants its own streaming service. Why sell your content to companies like Netflix and Hulu when you can start your own streaming service? That’s why we’ve recently seen the launch of services like Disney +, NBC’s Peacock and CBS All Access.
When companies launch their own streaming services, they will look for their own content from services like Netflix and Hulu and on their own.
At the same time, the competition encourages rights holders to shop for the best price – why give Netflix another year to stream your series or movie when HBO Max or Hulu can offer you more money to exclusively stream your content?
As more and more streaming services are launched, we only see even more competition for content and more media appear and disappear on different services.
Exclusive are more reliable
This is a big reason why companies like Netflix, Hulu and HBO are focusing on creating their own unique shows. Netflix will not lose Stranger Things and HBO will not lose Game of Thrones anytime soon. They do not have to negotiate to keep the show they created for themselves.
With streaming services focused on creating their own series and movies to be less dependent on paying for existing content, it’s no surprise that companies like Disney, NBC and CBS see the way the wind is blowing and launching their own services.
Of course, a service may one day give up the ghost and its content may move elsewhere – witness how Netflix and Hulu both broadcast season six of Community, which was created for the bad Yahoo! Screen.
But as long as a streaming service lives and kicks, its own content will not disappear. You may not be able to watch Harry Potter on HBO Max in a few months, but you will definitely be able to watch The Sopranos.
See things while you can
If you are planning to watch a TV or movie, it is a good idea to watch it while you can. Do not take it for granted that something will still be on Netflix or HBO for a year from now. Not even if it’s a launch title that HBO proudly promoted.
Originals are of course different—Disney + will probably not lose Disney movies any time soon, and Netflix will not lose original ones The Irishman.
We recommend that you keep an eye on what disappears from (and arrives at) services such as Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu and Amazon Prime – no matter what you subscribe to. If you see that something you want to watch disappears in a month, you will know what it is time to binge.
Many websites offer lists of everything that comes and goes from your favorite services. Check the lists once a month, and you will not be surprised if something disappears.
Some streaming services also offer categories such as HBO’s “Just Added” (for new things), “Last Chance” (for missing things) and “Coming Soon” (for things to come.)
Do not pay for each subscription forever
In the end, you can even save money when you are more realistic about what you want to watch. There is no point in paying for a streaming service year round if you only want to watch a single show – you can subscribe for a month, watch it and unsubscribe when you are done.
Consider rotating your streaming subscriptions so you can save money, and you always have something new to look at. If you are not going to watch anything on a streaming service this month, unsubscribe from that service. You can always quickly and easily re-register when you want to watch something else.
RELATED: The cheapest way to stream TV: Rotate your subscriptions
Rental (and purchase) for the rescue
In the end, all the money you save by not paying for each streaming service each month can help you watch something even after it slips away from the streaming services you pay for.
Movies and TV shows do not disappear from stores that sell rentals and purchases as often as they do from streaming services. You can still rent many movies for a few dollars on services like iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, and buying a TV series you want to watch often costs about as much as a month on HBO.
Or, if you always want access to your favorite TV shows and movies, you might just skip the streaming and buy yourself some Blu-Rays or a DVD box.
Either way, you will not find yourself with a streaming service directory.