Netflix subscribers everywhere were up in arms over the past few days after noticing an expiration date of January 1 for the 236-episode NBC series Friends. Fortunately, an expiration date is not a guaranteed death sentence. It just means the contract has yet to be renewed.
As the Inquisitr has previously reported, Netflix subscribers who were fans of the series took to social media in a panic. Many threatened to cancel their subscriptions. Petitions to keep the show in the streaming library quickly started popping up.
Fortunately, per a previous Inquisitr report, Netflix reassured subscribers a few days ago that there was no reason to panic as Friends would not be leaving the streaming library in 2019 as originally scheduled. It, however, has recently come to light that the streaming giant paid a pretty hefty price tag to keep the NBC sitcom in their library to keep their subscribers happy.
According to the New York Times, Netflix is reportedly paying $100 million to WarnerMedia – the owner of Friends– to keep all 236 episodes for another year. The outlet also notes Netflix originally acquired the license to stream Friends back in January of 2015. At the time, the streaming giant agreed to pay $30 million for streaming rights.
The New York Times clarifies news of the contract renewal following the uproar of fans and subscribers on social media was just convenient timing as Netflix had been working toward a deal to continue to stream the series with WarnerMedia for a few months.
Moreover, Netflix is not the only streaming giant who had their sights set on Friends. AT&T – who is currently working on setting up a streaming service of their own – was also working on a deal to obtain rights to stream the NBC series. AT&T plans on releasing their streaming service by the end of next year.
Randall Stephenson – the chief executive of AT&T – confirmed the deal they worked out with WarnerMedia for streaming rights to Friends was non-exclusive. Meaning the series could stream on more than one service.
This non-exclusive deal with AT&T means that Friends will likely appear in the AT&T streaming library in 2020. Moreover, Netflix will either negotiate a much cheaper deal to continue to stream Friends for 2020 or the streaming giant will drop the series completely as it will no longer be exclusive.
Friends aired on NBC from the years 1994 to 2004. The series ran for 10 seasons and had 236 episodes. While the series has been off of the air for over a decade, it continues to be adored by fans everywhere.