Netflix Original Vs Netflix Licensed Content: What’s The Difference?

House of Cards was the first Netflix Original released in 2013.

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Difference between Netflix Original And Netflix Licensed content
Image: Netflix

Netflix’s library has grown exponentially since the initial release of the Netflix Original House of Cards. Almost ten years later, the streaming giant is expected to hit the 2,000 mark for original content in its U.S. library within the next few months. A mark of over 6,000, including both original and licensed content.

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But has Netflix defined what it means by “Original” and “Licensed” content? Here’s our guide to what to expect when you see the term Netflix Original and Licensed content.

Difference between Netflix Original & Netflix Licensed content

What do Netflix Originals mean?

netflix best originals - Hot Sale
Image: Netflix

A Netflix Original is defined by the status Netflix gives the show. A movie or TV series might fall into one of the following:

  • Netflix commissions and produces the show.
  • Netflix has exclusive rights for international streaming of the show.
  • Netflix co-produces the show with another network.
  • It has acquired the rights to stream and continue the production of a previously canceled show.

Since Netflix owns the copyright to these shows, they do not need to license the content to legally stream it globally. As long as Netflix is available in a country, its original shows will be made available too. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, Orange Is the New Black and Lilyhammer are not available in every country.

The reason is simple: Netflix no longer owns the licensing rights. They might have sold them to other streaming sites and TV networks around the world. As a result, the company can no longer legally stream its own content there.

To explain, when Orange Is the New Black premiered in Indonesia, the streaming giant sold the rights to the show because Netflix was not available there. Despite the fact that the service is now available, Netflix does not own the licensing rights to that show.

Netflix Originals have always received mixed reactions from audiences all over the world. While some content has been turned into memes due to its poor quality, highly acclaimed shows such as The Crown and The Stranger Things are on the other end of the spectrum.

What does Netflix’s Licensed content mean?

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Image: Netflix

You’ve got lots of instances where Netflix buys in shows from other providers. Good examples of this are shows like Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, The Walking Dead, and Gilmore Girls. You’ve also got many instances where Netflix had to let go of these shows irrespective of the views due to licensing agreements.

It is solely based on the fact that the producer does not transfer the official rights of the film but only gives permission to the distributor to stream the movie for a particular term period.

A “Netflix Licensed content” may be defined by the following:

  • Netflix acquires only the rights to distribution of the show through licensing.
  • Netflix may not necessarily own the long-term rights for these shows.
  • Netflix regularly negotiates agreements with various content providers to license streaming rights for several movies and TV shows.
  • Some licenses are for a limited time, whereas others are perpetual.
  • Netflix is always updating consumers on what will be made available and what will soon disappear. 

For example, the creators of a television show may agree to let Netflix stream all seasons of that show for two, five, or seven years. After the set time period expires, the licensing agreement may be renewed, or if viewing figures do not justify it, Netflix will remove the show from its catalog. Some content may be non-exclusive and thus accessible via other streaming services.

It is less expensive to obtain licensing agreements that are not exclusive to a single streaming platform. This is why something might be available on a different streaming service but not on Netflix. Second-run movies and shows such as How to Get Away with Murder from ABC, Shameless from Showtime, The Office from Universal, and The Godfather from Paramount are examples of licensed content.

Hope this helped you understand how Netflix defines its content. Let us know in the comments below!

Oviya Priyadharshini

Oviya Priyadharshini

Oviya loves to watch movies and she loves to write. So, she writes about what she watches. Do check out!

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