So no one told you life was going to be this way. It’s official: Netflix announced on July 9 that all 10 seasons of the Emmy-winning comedy Friends will be leaving the streaming service at the end of 2019. This time, we aren’t on a break with the show. You’ll soon have to say goodbye to your favorite friends.
First ‘The Office,’ Now ‘Friends’
In late June, Netflix announced The Office would be leaving the streaming service in 2021. At the time of the news, fans were distraught, but now it’s even worse. Netflix is also losing Friends—another popular comedy. While shows come and go on Netflix all the time, these particular losses could possibly change Netflix forever.
Many subscribers voiced their opinions on Twitter, saying they no longer need to subscribe to the streaming service. With this threat, the question now is whether Netflix will be undercut as the reigning streaming service in the industry. Some users may decide to keep their subscriptions, but others might end their subscriptions in order to subscribe to another platform. It could be trouble in paradise for Netflix.
The One Where We Have To Say Goodbye
This isn’t the first time Netflix had complications involving Friends. In December 2018, the streaming service announced the show would be leaving the platform in January 2019. However, fans rallied together on social media, making petitions and generating enough social media buzz about Netflix that the streaming service quickly reversed the decision. Netflix negotiated with WarnerMedia, which owns the distribution rights to the beloved comedy, but the legal negotiation wouldn’t last long.
After months of speculation, WarnerMedia finally decided Friends belongs on HBO Max, its own forthcoming streaming service, due to launch in the spring of 2020. Netflix tweeted on July 9, “The One Where We Have To Say Goodbye. We’re sorry to see Friends go to Warner’s streaming service at the beginning of 2020 (in the U.S.). Thanks for the memories, gang.”
This time, no matter how many petitions are signed, how much social media buzz is created, and how angry fans are about the news, nothing is going to change. Friends is leaving Netflix, so it’s time to wake up to a new reality. You’ll have to say goodbye to Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey, Ross, and Phoebe. Have one last cup of coffee at Central Perk, and somewhere in the background, we can hear Janice exclaiming, “Oh my God!”
The Future For Streaming Services
Starting in the spring of 2020, all 236 episodes of Friends will stream only on HBO Max. The comedy will join a wide array of other well-known shows, including Pretty Little Liars, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but also HBO Max’s planned original series. The streaming service will also include access to HBO’s back catalog, and it will also eventually host thousands of hours of content from other WarnerMedia-owned networks, including Cartoon Network, CNN, and Turner Classic Movies. At the time, Warner Media has not confirmed the pricing for the new service.
HBO Max joins other streaming services hoping to compete with Netflix, including Amazon Prime, Hulu, NBCUniversal [which will host The Office], Disney+ [launching November 12], and Apple has its own streaming service in the works. With so many streaming services launching, we can anticipate several changes being made to where and how you watch your favorite television shows.
For many people, cable television used to be the only place where you watched television, but that’s not the case anymore. Some viewers will be subscribed to Netflix, while others will be subscribed to HBO Max. Some will try Disney+ and others will stick to Hulu. The entertainment business is changing and how we watch our content is evolving. What will the industry look like in five years? That’s a good question to think about as you watch another episode of Friends on Netflix while you still can.
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