The launch of streaming services like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock are sure to bring significant hurdles to an existing powerhouse like Netflix. These streamers will offer competitive prices and quality content, but neither of those are the main concern for Netflix. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Netflix with the arrival of these new services is the loss of popular content in the years ahead. Netflix has been the streaming home of beloved and ultra-bingeable sitcoms like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Friends for the last couple of years. Very soon, however, they will all be gone, and Friends will be the first out the door.
Netflix's contract to stream Friends was supposedly over at the end of last year, before the streaming giant swooped in with a massive deal to keep it going another year. Well, that year is about to be up, and WarnerMedia's HBO Max has secured the rights to stream Friends exclusively for the foreseeable future. That service won't be launching until the spring, but Friends' run on Netflix will be up when the calendar flips to 2020. December 31st is the final day Friends will be available to stream on Netflix, and it's likely never going to be back.
Last month, Netflix released the full list of movies and TV shows leaving the service in December, and Friends was mysteriously absent from that list. This may have created hope in some fans that the show was going to last a little bit longer. Sadly, Netflix dispelled those hopes with its latest newsletter this week.
Tucked in with the list of titles leaving Netflix in January was Friends, with the exit date of 12/31 beside. So as of January 1, 2020, Friends won't be available to stream anywhere. There will be a gap until HBO Max arrives in the spring.
It's clear that many of these streaming services believe the popular, long-running sitcoms are one of the easiest ways to attract subscribers. WarnerMedia paid absurd amounts of money for both Friends and The Big Bang Theory, while NBCUniversal shelled out to get back the rights to The Office and Parks and Recreation. In response, Netflix paid up to acquire every episode of Seinfeld.
Are you disappointed to see Friends leaving Netflix? Will you get HBO Max when it launches next year? Let us know in the comments!