Just nine months after all ten series of Friends arrived on Netflix, the streaming service might be on the verge of losing the hit 90s sitcom.
Or at least according to BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield. As reported in Deadline, he predicted that once Disney and WarnerMedia have their upcoming streaming services up and running – they will take many (if not all) of their films and television series from Netflix. And this will more than likely include the highly coveted Friends series.
“Content like Friends is likely to disappear from Netflix in 2019 as WarnerMedia launches its own SVOD service.
“As more content creators launch their own SVOD services, how should investors think about the impact of losing high-profile syndicated content?” Greenfield wrote in a note released ahead of the capital market company’s earning interview.
This would not only be a huge blow for Netflix but also the millions of Friends fans around the world. While the hallmark 90s shows may have bowed out in 2004 after a decade long run, it still remains a hugely watched show.
Measurements from Parrot Analytics places Friends as the third most streamed Netflix show of the year so far in the US, trailing behind the far more contemporary series Big Bang Theory and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Peter Csathy, founder of digital media consultancy CreaTV Media agreed that losing shows such as Friends would be a significant loss for the streaming giant.
“If all the ‘Netflix Killers’ out there band together and take back their franchises, that would be a serious blow to Netflix.
“Kids and family viewing on Netflix represents a surprisingly high number, and kids watch franchise content over and over again.
“Netflix parents are happy to pay for that kind of babysitting so long as the content is there. If Disney princesses, Star Wars, Marvel, DC Comics, Pixar and other mega properties pull out of the Netflix universe, Netflix most certainly would feel that,” Csathy said.
However, Netflix seems more than aware of the impending threat. Chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that Netflix is a ‘dependable buyer’ and noted that some of the service’s most popular shows are Netflix Originals.
“We’ve been a pretty dependable buyer. Increasingly, some of those sellers have become complicated sellers, meaning there are conflicts within their own companies about what they want to sell and when they want to sell (in which windows).
“Some of our biggest brands, like Stranger Things, are owned and produced in-house, but we are still licensing a lot of content.”
“Queer Eye, Fastest Car, Nailed It, Sugar Rush. These are all shows that people love in enormous numbers around the world. And we don’t have to go through the gun-to-the-head renegotiation,” Sarandos said.