Netflix Is Paying A Massive Fee To Keep "Friends" On Its Platform, Report Says

Friends will stay on Netflix through 2019, but it could leave later.

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Now Playing: Netflix Is Paying A Massive Fee To Keep "Friends" On Its Platform, Report Says - GameSpot Universe News Update

Earlier this week, Netflix confirmed that the acclaimed sitcom Friends will stay on the streaming platform through the end of 2019, following rumours of it being removed in January. Now, a New York Times report reveals the gargantuan licensing fee that Netflix is paying licensor WarnerMedia to keep Friends on the streaming network for another year.

Two people said to have knowledge of the matter told NYT that the price tag was $100 million. According to the report, that's up from the $30 million that Netflix previously paid WarnerMedia annually to keep the beloved show on its platform in the United States. Friends isn't available on Netflix everywhere; for example, in Australia it streams on Stan, not Netflix.

The controversy, if you want to call it that, started after people noticed that the Friends page on Netflix's website stated--for a period of time--that the show would leave in January. According to NYT, Netflix's deal with WarnerMedia was indeed set to expire at the end of 2018. However, Netflix and WarnerMedia owner AT&T were in discussions "for at least a few months" about coming to terms on a deal to extend the licensing agreement.

WarnerMedia is set to launch its own streaming platform at the end of 2019, and obviously, Friends is a property that would help get people to sign up. Indeed, AT&T boss Randall Stephenson said during an investor conference this week that he "definitely" wants Friends on WarnerMedia's platform, while acknowledging it is "important to Netflix as well."

Referencing the new deal between WarnerMedia and Netflix, Stephenson confirmed it is non-exclusive, so Friends could appear on Netflix and WarnerMedia's own network simultaneously.

WarnerMedia and Netflix are already discussing a licensing fee for Friends after 2019, but it's expected to be much less than $100 million given that it wouldn't necessarily be exclusive to Netflix, according to the report. The sources added that another possibility is for Friends to leave Netflix after 2019. Officially, Friends is only confirmed to stay on Netflix through the end of 2019.

You can read the full NYT report here.

Critically acclaimed, Friends ran for 10 seasons from 1994 through 2004. Its May 2004 finale drew 52.5 million viewers in America, according to The New York Times. As of 2015, the show was bringing in $1 billion every year from syndication, with stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, and Matthew Perry making $20 million a year from that based on their 2 percent share of syndication revenue, according to USA Today.

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Avatar image for vakiva
Vakiva

The golden age of streaming video is dying.

Avatar image for lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

So when everyone has their own streaming service, cable will be the cheap option again?

Avatar image for Hagan
Hagan

@lionheartssj1: cable is already cheap. Cable providers just throw it in with internet and data packages which are the expensive part.

Avatar image for brandsome
Brandsome

Now we know why the monthly fee went up lol

Avatar image for gusbr
GusBR

One of the worst shows ever. maybe scripted for 5yo?

Avatar image for bouchart
bouchart

$100 million for a 20 year old sitcom? Shows you how little modern TV shows must be worth.

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Zerofrust

Jesus! Really? I remember back in the late 90s this and Seinfield (Kramer antics were making it barely watchable) being far from funny...

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

LOL. I absolutely despise that show. I remember when it first came out and everyone was all gaga over it. I was thinking to myself, what the hell do people see in this show? They still play reruns of it every day for 4 hours a day on TV. My kids all hate it - ages 17, 19 and 24 so I guess the main audience is people who watched it back in the day watching it all again. As if the first time wasn't bad enough. I can't see ages 30+ watching it for the first time like when it first aired. There is way too much better stuff to watch for people that age. It was a soap opera with slightly better acting. Sitcoms are funny. This show was not. My wife liked it of course so I had to find other things to do while Rachel and Ross had that awkward thang.

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Paulf001

I never found Friends to be funny.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

I can't believe there are people who knock physical. If you own physical copies, this shit doesn't happen.

Avatar image for Tidus1012
Tidus1012

Dunno why Friends is that popular, isn't even funny.