If you’ve been perusing the Internet the last few days, then you probably saw that the show Friends, is staying on Netflix for at least one more year.
That’s a big deal for fans of the show who want to watch the aging episodes. It’s also a big deal for Netflix, which obviously sees plenty of return on its investment. That might have been a lot easier when it was only paying $30 million per year for the show, though. As it has been reported quite a bit ever since the new deal closed, Netflix is paying around $100 million for just one year of streaming rights, paying out that much money just to keep Friends on Netflix through the end of 2019.
Netflix didn’t just come up with that number on its own, though. Apparently there was a bidding war for the show that went off the air more than a decade ago, with the likes of Hulu stepping in in a major way to try and earn the streaming rights. AT&T’s WarnerMedia apparently also did some bidding — which is only strange because WarnerMedia already owns the rights to the show, and will be making quite a bit of money from its deal with Netflix.
However, the other name that was tossed in the ring was Apple’s, according to Recode. While Apple ultimately pulled its bid for the show before the final decision was made, and it’s not known just how much money Apple was willing to fork over, it sounds like Apple is starting to work towards a future where its own streaming platform isn’t supported only by wholly original content.
This is a big deal in its own right, because up to this point Apple’s streaming platform, which is still unnamed and, technically, still unofficial, has been seen as a vehicle primarily, if not only, for brand new, original content. But while offering up the service for free for Apple device owners might get some eyeballs on that content, while big name additions to other series might help as well, there’s no arguing with the fact that adding shows that people already know and watch would help quite a bit more.
At this point, the potential acquisition of Friends is the only indicator that Apple has considered adding existing content to its streaming platform in the future, and it may not be a sign of anything more than just trying to land one of the biggest shows ever, with an ever-present, looming shadow in the zeitgeist even all these years later.
As for Friends? It appears it will exist out there in the world for quite some time. AT&T’s WarnerMedia is going to launch its own streaming service in the second half of 2019, with three different tiers to choose from. The company apparently has the ability to pull the show from Netflix by the end of 2019, in which case it would likely plant it on its own streaming service as a means to get people to sign up.
However, it’s also possible that Netflix can keep streaming the show beyond 2019 for a slight discount to the price it’s paying now — even while WarnerMedia has access to stream the show on its own network as well. That would see WarnerMedia getting a $75 million payout from Netflix in 2020, while also getting the return from viewers watching the show on its own service as well.
Let’s also not forget that Apple will be playing host to Jennifer Aniston (who played Rachel on Friends) thanks to the upcoming morning show drama coming down the line.
What do you think? Should Apple try to bolster its original content with already existing properties?