Friends has been taken off of Netflix as of today and won’t be available to stream in the U.S. before it reappears on HBO Max in May.The show was extended on Netflix until the end of 2019 in a 1 year extension worth at least $100 million. WarnerMedia then locked up exclusive streaming rights to Friends for HBO Max in a $425 million agreement. HBO Max will cost $15 a month when it launches in May.
#Friends became a trending topic on twitter last night, as the classic sitcom was taken off of user’s Netflix instant queue’s.
— Dee Zayed (@DeeZayed) January 1, 2020
Friends starred Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer as six friends living in Manhattan. Friends was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards and won for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002.
Friends, which became one of the most-viewed titles on Netflix in recent years, became an example of the bidding wars for well established TV titles. Netflix just payed $500 million for multiple years of Seinfeld, more than triple the $130 million Hulu paid for it. South Park is also in a $500 streaming rights battle currently. Some other shows are following in Friends‘ footsteps and leaving Netflix for better deals. The Office will also be leaving Netflix next year for NBC’s new Peacock streaming service.
Netflix executives are insisting that the company has expected to shed acquired TV and film titles as it focuses more and more on originals. In a letter, The Company wrote “We don’t have material viewing concentration as even our largest titles, that are watched by millions of members, account for only a low single digit percentage of streaming hours. From what we’ve seen in the past when we drop strong catalog content, Sony, Fox, Disney, and Paramount films, our members shift over to enjoying our other great content.” Netflix is producing so much new content it is now competing with the other major studios. Netflix’s market value is also currently higher than Disney’s in the stock market.