Netflix has worked its magic to make sure that ‘Friends’ will be available for its subscribers for at least another year. The popular sitcom from the 1990s has been airing reruns on the streaming service for the past few years. However, the license was coming to an end and seeing how popular the show has been on the platform, Netflix decided to pull all the stops and make sure it continues to stream it but this decision came at a steep price. As part of the deal, the streaming service will part with $100 million to continue licensing the TV show from its owner Warner Media. This is a huge premium compared to the initial $30 million that Netflix paid to license the sitcom.
Nonetheless, the deal does reflect the increasing thirst for content on online streaming services. It’s becoming increasingly clear that streaming content online is the new trend. A lot of people just prefer to watch content online and content producers see this as an opportunity to directly reach consumers without having to go through TV networks. The streaming industry has also seen the entrance of many companies. Although Netflix was the front-runner and by far the most successful streaming service, other companies such as Warner Media and its parent company AT&T as well as Walt Disney are planning to launch their own streaming platforms to compete with Netflix. Television networks are also retooling their service in order to offer customers a streaming option for new content and reruns.
Netflix’s big priority now is to expand its subscriber base. The company is investing in content as part of the strategy towards this. Its efforts to keep ‘Friends’ on its list of TV shows at such a hefty fee shouldn’t come as a surprise. This year alone, the streaming service has spent over $8 billion in original content and this figure is expected to keep rising in the future. At the moment, Netflix has over 130 million subscribers, 57 million of which are located in the US.
The initial deal to bring ‘Friends’ on Netflix was due to expire at the end of this year. There was increased backlash from fans though. Some even threatened to cancel their subscription if the show was no longer available for streaming. However, Netflix appears to have addressed this in record time with the deal to keep the sitcom being negotiated over the last few months. The recent announcement was a culmination of these talks.
The content is now owned by AT&T after the telecom giant acquired Time Warner in an $85.4 billion deal. Times Warner was initially the owner of HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros. Warner Bros also owns a number of other top shows such as the Big Bang Theory and the blockbuster movie Wonder Woman. The negotiations between AT&T and Netflix were complicated a little bit since the telecom company also has a plan to launch a streaming service of its own. The company has said that it wants to make sure that all the content it owns is streamed on its own platform in the future.