Friends: Netflix 'paid $100m' to keep sitcom on streaming service after fan outcry

Netflix went to extreme lengths to keep streaming Friends.

After fans of the beloved sitcom went into meltdown upon discovering what seemed to be a date revealing the show’s expiration from the streamer, Netflix assuaged their fears by confirming all 10 seasons would still be available to watch in 2019.

However, the decision has reportedly proved rather expensive for Netflix as the battle to keep old shows grows increasingly more difficult.

Growing speculation has suggested that Friends, which is owned by WarnerMedia’s parent company AT&T, was in danger of being nabbed by the former for its brand new streaming platform that’s scheduled to begin in 2019. Because of that, Netflix is said to have paid $100m to keep the sitcom having initially been paying $30m a year.

According to The New York Times, this new fee “reflects the thirst for content in the streaming age”. The report also states that Netflix pre-empted user outcry and began negotiations to keep the sitcom – which ran from 1994-2004 – months ago.

Does this mean that Netflix’s library of classic shows will be reduced as newer streaming services arrive? It certainly seems so. Look no further than the recent cancellations of its Marvel shows, including Daredevil and Luke Cage, which is said to be a casualty of Disney’s forthcoming streamer, Disney+. It will host original shows featuring characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its Star Wars franchise.

Despite this, it’s not just old films and TV shows that get watched by Netflix users with chief content officer Ted Sarandos confirming that new film The Christmas Chronicles was watched 20 million times in its first week, marking what he believes to be a career first for lead star Kurt Russell.

Friends arrived on Netflix UK in January 2018, three years after making its debut on Netflix US.

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