Relax (for the time being) Friends lovers, as the show will not be leaving Netflix. At least not on January 1, 2019, as had been previously indicated. Subscribers and fans of the sitcom were quick to notice reports that the series was departing the streaming service to kick off the new year, with the available until date even appearing on the service's website and app for a short period. This led to panic that, luckily, isn't necessary, as it's been confirmed that Friends is still going to be available on Netflix in the new year. But for how much longer? That's the bigger question.
Starting with what we know for sure. According to a new report, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has stated that the Friends "departure is a rumor." But what of the fact that the Januar 1, 2019, date actually appeared on Netflix? This likely had something to do with a contract expiring between Warner Bros. TV, who owns the rights to the series, and Netflix, who holds the license. In all likelihood, renegotiations for an extension were going on behind the scenes and, at least for the time being, the company has managed to keep one of the most beloved shows in its streaming library.
The problem is that Netflix is gaining a lot more competition in the streaming department these days. Not only are Amazon, Apple and Facebook pushing more heavily in this arena, but disney/ is set to launch their own service next year, Disney+, which is viewed as a director competitor to Netflix. More importantly, as it relates to Friends, is the fact that WarnerMedia, the parent company that ultimately controls the fate of the series, intends to launch their own streaming service next year. And that's where things get a bit more tricky moving forward.
Since all of these companies are going to need content for their respective services, it stands to reasons that Warner would want to have Friends on their streaming service, which currently doesn't have an official title. As much as we all enjoy new content, we find comfort in the familiar and that's why having shows like Friends, The Office or Parks and Recreation available to rewatch as many times as we'd like is so important. Capitalizing on those who fall asleep every night to the familiar voices of Joey, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe and Chandler might be a way to help Warner get some subscribers in the beginning.
If the show does eventually leave Netflix, it would be another blow to their library of licensed content, which is losing all of its Disney titles once Disney+ arrives, which were, no doubt, a huge drew for subscribers. Ultimately, we're all going to have to make some tough choices about how we spend our money when it comes to streaming services in the near future. But for the time being, Friends fans can safely continue to shell out for Netflix every month. This news was previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter.