Classic sitcom Friends has officially been removed from Netflix, and won’t be available to stream again until May. Now the difference is that it will only be around for viewing on new streaming service HBO Max.
The removal of Friends led to fans of the show expressing discontent on social media in the early hours of New Years Day as they attempted to resume watching an episode, only to discover they couldn’t.
The show received an extension to be available on Netflix until the end of 2019. The one-year non-exclusive deal is said to be worth at least $100 million. However, WarnerMedia then snapped up Friends for HBO Max in a deal worth $425 million.
HBO Max launches in May 2020, and will reportedly cost subscribers $15 a month to access. Coming after the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+, HBO Max will want to get viewers’ attention when it becomes available. Therefore, there will also be South Park, Rick and Morty, Adventure Time, Studio Ghibli films and Looney Tunes titles to name but a few.
Netflix has responded to losing Friends by forking out over $500 million for a multi-year Seinfeld deal, which is over three times the $130 million Hulu paid for it in the past.
Other classic series will be shifting between streaming services in the future, too. For example, The Office will be moving from Netflix on January 1, 2021, moving to upcoming platform Peacock from NBCUniversal.
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