Netflix Paying Almost $100 Million for ‘Friends’ Proves Old Series Still Matter

Netflix has been spending ambitiously on content, though most of the attention is paid toward its fast-growing output of original series and films. But the streamer’s deal to keep the ’90s-era sitcom “Friends” for another year proves that older series that still carry big fanbases are just as important in the high-stakes streaming wars.

Sources differ on the exact price tag that Netflix paid to keep “Friends” next year. One insider with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap that it was between $70 and $80 million, while another person with knowledge of the rights-bidding pegged the deal closer to the $100 million that the New York Times reported earlier this week.

“Friends” was one of Netflix’s biggest acquisitions when it announced the deal back in 2014, which was followed by Hulu’s big get of “Seinfeld” a year later — an investment that cost somewhere between $160 and $180 million. Both deals heralded that the new battlefield for syndicating old TV shows, long the main play of local stations and cable networks, was moving into streaming. Netflix’s latest “Friends” deal proves that’s still the case.

Also Read: Netflix Hires Film Production Executive Kira Goldberg From Fox

As the streaming world has become more and more crowded, Netflix’s model has shifted in these past four years to favor its own productions, but the fact that it’s willing to shell out such a big chunk of change — its original deal for “Friends” cost $30 million annually, according to the New York Times — proves that streaming giants can’t rely only on subscribers liking every new show they put out. The broadcast networks, which pick up and cancel swaths of TV shows every year, can attest to that.

In the next year, the streaming space will continue to grow further, with WarnerMedia, Apple and Disney all launching their own direct-to-consumer offerings.

Part of that, at least on the Disney side, will see the Mouse House end its licensing deal with Netflix after the year ends (a huge get for Netflix at the time, as it gave the service rights to “Star Wars” and Marvel films). That could partially explain why Netflix has canceled three of its Marvel TV series in the past few months, including the widely-praised third season of “Daredevil.”

Also Read: Netflix Inks Overall Deal With ‘Doc McStuffins’ Creator Chris Nee

One of the new entrants in the streaming space next year will be Warner Bros.’ parent company, WarnerMedia, which will launch its own branded streaming platform at the end of 2019. On Tuesday, Warner Bros. reminded everybody who owns “Friends,” and AT&T chief Randall Stephenson said his upcoming WarnerMedia SVOD product will likely house Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe as well. That would appear to lower the amount that Netflix would pay to keep “Friends” after 2019, since it would no longer be exclusive.

All of this doesn’t even mention every streaming player currently available, including Amazon, Hulu (which Disney will own 60 percent of after the Fox deal closes) and even smaller players like CBS All Access.

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Netflix has been spending ambitiously on content, though most of the attention is paid toward its fast-growing output of original series and films. But the streamer’s deal to keep the ’90s-era sitcom “Friends” for another year proves that older series that still carry big fanbases are just as important in the high-stakes streaming wars.

Sources differ on the exact price tag that Netflix paid to keep “Friends” next year. One insider with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap that it was between $70 and $80 million, while another person with knowledge of the rights-bidding pegged the deal closer to the $100 million that the New York Times reported earlier this week.

“Friends” was one of Netflix’s biggest acquisitions when it announced the deal back in 2014, which was followed by Hulu’s big get of “Seinfeld” a year later — an investment that cost somewhere between $160 and $180 million. Both deals heralded that the new battlefield for syndicating old TV shows, long the main play of local stations and cable networks, was moving into streaming. Netflix’s latest “Friends” deal proves that’s still the case.

As the streaming world has become more and more crowded, Netflix’s model has shifted in these past four years to favor its own productions, but the fact that it’s willing to shell out such a big chunk of change — its original deal for “Friends” cost $30 million annually, according to the New York Times — proves that streaming giants can’t rely only on subscribers liking every new show they put out. The broadcast networks, which pick up and cancel swaths of TV shows every year, can attest to that.

In the next year, the streaming space will continue to grow further, with WarnerMedia, Apple and Disney all launching their own direct-to-consumer offerings.

Part of that, at least on the Disney side, will see the Mouse House end its licensing deal with Netflix after the year ends (a huge get for Netflix at the time, as it gave the service rights to “Star Wars” and Marvel films). That could partially explain why Netflix has canceled three of its Marvel TV series in the past few months, including the widely-praised third season of “Daredevil.”

One of the new entrants in the streaming space next year will be Warner Bros.’ parent company, WarnerMedia, which will launch its own branded streaming platform at the end of 2019. On Tuesday, Warner Bros. reminded everybody who owns “Friends,” and AT&T chief Randall Stephenson said his upcoming WarnerMedia SVOD product will likely house Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe as well. That would appear to lower the amount that Netflix would pay to keep “Friends” after 2019, since it would no longer be exclusive.

All of this doesn’t even mention every streaming player currently available, including Amazon, Hulu (which Disney will own 60 percent of after the Fox deal closes) and even smaller players like CBS All Access.

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‘Doc McStuffins’ Creator Chris Nee Inks Netflix Overall Deal

Netflix has signed a multiyear overall deal with Chris Nee, the award-winning creator/EP of Doc McStuffins and Vampirina who has championed kids TV stories with diverse points of view for more than two decades.
Under the deal, Nee will write and produc…

Netflix has signed a multiyear overall deal with Chris Nee, the award-winning creator/EP of Doc McStuffins and Vampirina who has championed kids TV stories with diverse points of view for more than two decades. Under the deal, Nee will write and produce new animated and live-action series for preschool and all audiences exclusively for the streamer. Netflix also will have a first-look option on feature film projects from Nee and her production company, Laughing…

Cinedigm Teams With China International TV Corp. For 500 Hours Of Streaming Content

Cinedigm is teaming with the powerhouse China International TV Corp. to bring more than 500 hours of popular Chinese content to the U.S. for its forthcoming digital channel Bambu.
The Chinese content digital channel, which will feature programming most…

Cinedigm is teaming with the powerhouse China International TV Corp. to bring more than 500 hours of popular Chinese content to the U.S. for its forthcoming digital channel Bambu. The Chinese content digital channel, which will feature programming mostly dubbed into English, will launch in early 2019. Cinedigm already operates nine OTT channels, including Docurama and CONtv, which covers Comic Con gatherings around the country. The Bambu service is expected to cost $4.99…

Hulu CEO Randy Freer Sees Subscriber Growth Accelerating, Pay TV Margins Increasing; Global Entry A “Hard Problem To Solve”

By the end of 2018, Hulu will have added more subscribers in the second half of the year than it did in the first, CEO Randy Freer said in an appearance Tuesday at Business Insider’s Ignition conference.
That pace of growth would put it somewhere…

By the end of 2018, Hulu will have added more subscribers in the second half of the year than it did in the first, CEO Randy Freer said in an appearance Tuesday at Business Insider’s Ignition conference. That pace of growth would put it somewhere in the range of 24 million subscribers as 2019 begins. In recent years, Hulu has announced its subscriber tally at CES in early January. As of last year’s convention, it stood at 17 million, and the company reported 20 million in…

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson: WarnerMedia Can Stream ‘Friends’ Too

After the recent fuss over the Netflix fate of evergreen sitcom Friends, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson reminded attendees at the UBS media conference that the newly extended license to the Warner Bros show is not exclusive.
“That means Friends …

After the recent fuss over the Netflix fate of evergreen sitcom Friends, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson reminded attendees at the UBS media conference that the newly extended license to the Warner Bros show is not exclusive. “That means Friends can go onto our platform as well,” he said, alluding to the direct-to-consumer service that AT&T’s WarnerMedia will launch in late 2019. “That's content that we would definitely want on our platform and it's very important to Netflix…

How to Watch the Redskins-Eagles Game on ‘Monday Night Football’ for Free

With football season over halfway complete, NFL fans continue to flock to their TV sets, mobile phones, connected TVs, and laptops to watch their favorite team take the field. Tonight’s “Monday Night Football” game is a showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. PT/8:15 p.m. ET at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

However, not everyone has the cash to put down $50+ on a satellite subscription to watch the game. But with more consumers now turning to connected TVs and mobile devices for their daily dose of entertainment, the National Football League has made it easier for cord-cutters and cord-nevers to get their football fix without emptying out their piggy bank.

While fans can watch this upcoming “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN is available on streaming platforms like FuboTV, DirecTV Now, PS Vue and Sling TV — they all charge a monthly subscription fee. The cheapest of these services is Sling TV, which includes the NFL Network in its “Blue” package for $25 per month. Of course, consumers can get around paying the monthly service fee by taking advantage of the free trial period that most of these platforms offer.

Also Read: Amazon Picks First All-Female NFL Broadcast Team to Call ‘Thursday Night Football’

But if $25 per month doesn’t fit into your budget or canceling the service after its trial period is too much of a hassle, there is another way to watch the game without spending a dime — as long as you own a smartphone.

Anyone with a smartphone can download the NFL, Yahoo Sports, AOL or Tumblr mobile apps and enjoy tonight’s game at no cost. The same goes for all in market games including regular season and playoff games, and even the Super Bowl. The NFL announced the news in February.

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With football season over halfway complete, NFL fans continue to flock to their TV sets, mobile phones, connected TVs, and laptops to watch their favorite team take the field. Tonight’s “Monday Night Football” game is a showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. PT/8:15 p.m. ET at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

However, not everyone has the cash to put down $50+ on a satellite subscription to watch the game. But with more consumers now turning to connected TVs and mobile devices for their daily dose of entertainment, the National Football League has made it easier for cord-cutters and cord-nevers to get their football fix without emptying out their piggy bank.

While fans can watch this upcoming “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN is available on streaming platforms like FuboTV, DirecTV Now, PS Vue and Sling TV — they all charge a monthly subscription fee. The cheapest of these services is Sling TV, which includes the NFL Network in its “Blue” package for $25 per month. Of course, consumers can get around paying the monthly service fee by taking advantage of the free trial period that most of these platforms offer.

But if $25 per month doesn’t fit into your budget or canceling the service after its trial period is too much of a hassle, there is another way to watch the game without spending a dime — as long as you own a smartphone.

Anyone with a smartphone can download the NFL, Yahoo Sports, AOL or Tumblr mobile apps and enjoy tonight’s game at no cost. The same goes for all in market games including regular season and playoff games, and even the Super Bowl. The NFL announced the news in February.

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Netflix’s Ted Sarandos Hits Exhibitors For “Disconnecting People From Movies” By Preserving Theatrical Windows

Ted Sarandos began his entertainment career running video stores and has a well-established passion for film. As Netflix’s head of content, he has spent the past few months green-lighting an array of ambitious feature projects as the streaming gi…

Ted Sarandos began his entertainment career running video stores and has a well-established passion for film. As Netflix’s head of content, he has spent the past few months green-lighting an array of ambitious feature projects as the streaming giant makes an aggressive push into the film business. Despite all of that, the executive also believes movie exhibitors’ longtime protection of exclusive theatrical windows has done a lot more harm than good. Sarandos didn’t hold…

‘Grace And Frankie’ Gets Season 5 Premiere Date On Netflix

Netflix has set January 18 for the Season 5 premiere of Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the respective title characters. As the press notes puts it — and fans of the series will understand: “They’re back, and out o…

Netflix has set January 18 for the Season 5 premiere of Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the respective title characters. As the press notes puts it — and fans of the series will understand: “They're back, and out of f*cks to give.” Check out an announcement GIF below. That’s not the first time the series’ has had a racy season-premiere date announcement. Back in February 2017, Netflix touted G&F‘s return using the title duo’s vibrator products

‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 2’ Confirmed As First Paramount-Netflix Title Under New Co-Venture

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish confirmed a sequel to the popular Netflix young-adult literary adaptation To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 2 would be the first title in Paramount’s multi-picture deal with the streaming giant.
The sequel had been rep…

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish confirmed a sequel to the popular Netflix young-adult literary adaptation To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 2 would be the first title in Paramount’s multi-picture deal with the streaming giant. The sequel had been reported to be in the works earlier this fall, though Jenny Han, who wrote the bestselling To All the Boys books, said as recently as two weeks ago that there was no definitive green light. AwesomenessTV, acquired by Viacom earlier this…

Ariana Grande Sets YouTube 24-Hour Record For ‘Thank U, Next’ Video Debut

Songstress Ariana Grande has established a new YouTube record for most-watched video in a 24-hour period following a debut.
Grande’s hit, Thank U, Next, topped previous record holders and K-pop superstars BTS’s Idol. Released at 12 noon Pac…

Songstress Ariana Grande has established a new YouTube record for most-watched video in a 24-hour period following a debut. Grande’s hit, Thank U, Next, topped previous record holders and K-pop superstars BTS’s Idol. Released at 12 noon Pacific time on Friday, Thank U, Next has now passed 46 million viewers, edging BTS’s 45.9 million total in just under 22 hours. The BTS record was set in August, eclipsing Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do. The Grande video, which…

ESPN Reveals Launch Date For ACC Network

Building on the momentum of college conference-affiliated TV ventures like the SEC Network, ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference have set August 22, 2019, as the launch date for the ACC Network.
A week after it goes on the air, Georgia Tech’s f…

Building on the momentum of college conference-affiliated TV ventures like the SEC Network, ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference have set August 22, 2019, as the launch date for the ACC Network. A week after it goes on the air, Georgia Tech’s football team will visit Clemson. While the ACC’s football schools are not perennial national championship contenders, the network will also carry 150 games of men’s and women’s basketball, a longtime strength of the conference…

AT&T Sale Of Hulu Stake Could Net It Nearly $1B After Two Years Of Gains

Hulu, a streaming-video pioneer that has grown considerably despite an unwieldy ownership structure, is about to undergo significant change once Disney takes majority control of it in the new year.
In a meeting with Wall Street analysts on Thursday, AT…

Hulu, a streaming-video pioneer that has grown considerably despite an unwieldy ownership structure, is about to undergo significant change once Disney takes majority control of it in the new year. In a meeting with Wall Street analysts on Thursday, AT&T revealed even more change is coming. John Stephens, CFO of AT&T, said the company was considering letting go of its 10% stake in the streaming giant as part of an overall effort to reduce its massive debt load. Based on…

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Teams With Anthony Hemingway & Amazon For College Football Drama

EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off signing a first-look deal with Sony Pictures TV last month, Anthony Hemingway is getting on the feature field with Amazon Studios and some of the greatest NFL players ever to tackle college football.

The Emmy-winning American Crim…

EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off signing a first-look deal with Sony Pictures TV last month, Anthony Hemingway is getting on the feature field with Amazon Studios and some of the greatest NFL players ever to tackle college football. The Emmy-winning American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson and Red Tails director has teamed with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard to develop Work Horses for the House of…

Marvel Promises “More” ‘Daredevil’ “Adventures” After Netflix Cancellation

Daredevil may not be coming back to Netflix after yesterday’s sudden cancellation of the series, but there is clearly more in store for the Man Without Fear, as Marvel confirmed today
A statement this morning from the home of The Avengers and Spi…

Daredevil may not be coming back to Netflix after yesterday’s sudden cancellation of the series, but there is clearly more in store for the Man Without Fear, as Marvel confirmed today A statement this morning from the home of The Avengers and Spider-man used very similar language to what the streamer signed off with to indicate that Hell’s Kitchen’s blind protector isn’t done yet on the small or perhaps big screen. “We look forward to more adventures with the Man without…

Apple Music Comes To Amazon Echo

Apple Music is coming to Amazon’s Echo smart speakers.
The streaming music service will be available to Apple Music subscribers, starting the week of Dec. 17. Customers will be able to ask Alexa to play their any track from Apple’s catalog …

Apple Music is coming to Amazon’s Echo smart speakers. The streaming music service will be available to Apple Music subscribers, starting the week of Dec. 17. Customers will be able to ask Alexa to play their any track from Apple’s catalog of 50 million songs — or any of the playlists made by Apple Music's editors from around the world, covering many activities and moods. "Music is one of the most popular features on Alexa—since we launched Alexa four years ago, customers…

‘Daredevil’ Canceled By Netflix After 3 Seasons; Future In Other Marvel Projects

EXCLUSIVE: The ax continues to fall on Marvel’s series at Netflix. Daredevil, which launched the Marvel universe on the streaming platform, has been canceled after three seasons. The move comes on the heels of Netflix canceling Iron Fist and Luke…

EXCLUSIVE: The ax continues to fall on Marvel’s series at Netflix. Daredevil, which launched the Marvel universe on the streaming platform, has been canceled after three seasons. The move comes on the heels of Netflix canceling Iron Fist and Luke Cage last month – but Daredevil seems to have an afterlife elsewhere. “Marvel's Daredevil will not return for a fourth season on Netflix,” the streamer said in a statement tonight to Deadline. “We are tremendously proud of the…

WarnerMedia’s Streaming Service to Launch With Three Levels of Service

AT&T’s WarnerMedia-branded streaming platform will launch with three levels of service, said the company during a meeting with investors. 
The service, which is expected to debut in Q4 2019, will offer an “entry-level movie-focused&#822…

AT&T’s WarnerMedia-branded streaming platform will launch with three levels of service, said the company during a meeting with investors. 

The service, which is expected to debut in Q4 2019, will offer an “entry-level movie-focused” package, a “premium service” with original programming and blockbuster movies and a third service that bundles content from the first two, plus a library of WarnerMedia and licensed content. Pricing for the tiers was not specified.

The company says that the upcoming SVOD service is intended to complement WarnerMedia’s existing businesses while providing data and analytics to help with their decision in creating future products.

“We are well positioned for success as the lines between entertainment and communications continue to blur,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “If you’re a media company, you can no longer rely exclusively on wholesale distribution models. You must develop a direct relationship with your viewers. And if you’re a communications company, you can no longer rely exclusively on oversized bundles of content.”

WarnerMedia also said it is still considering launching an ad-supported service in the future, but did not provide further details on the plan.

AT&T first announced plans of its upcoming service in October, shortly after it gained full ownership of TimeWarner in a deal valued at $84.5 billion dollars. The service is expected to include content from AT&T’s growing collection of brands, including HBO, Turner Sports and WarnerBros.

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WarnerMedia Chief John Stankey: Our “Flywheel” Approach Will Prevail As Netflix Library Gets “Thinner”

In outlining WarnerMedia’s strategy for direct-to-consumer streaming, CEO John Stankey relied heavily on language more common in engineering circles than lunch tables at the Brentwood Country Mart.
He laid out the plans to a roomful of Wall Stree…

In outlining WarnerMedia’s strategy for direct-to-consumer streaming, CEO John Stankey relied heavily on language more common in engineering circles than lunch tables at the Brentwood Country Mart. He laid out the plans to a roomful of Wall Street investors and analysts eager to hear more details about the post-merger course of WarnerMedia parent AT&T, not wasting the chance to zing Netflix, albeit not by name. Stankey said that over the next 18 to 24 months, a…

AT&T Pitches WarnerMedia Strategy To Wall Street Analysts, Detailing Three Tiers Of 2019 Streaming Offering

AT&T is delivering its post-merger pitch to a roomful of Wall Street analysts this afternoon, and shedding new light on its direct-to-consumer OTT service launching in late 2019.
CEO Randall Stephenson opened the two-hour event at Time Warner Cente…

AT&T is delivering its post-merger pitch to a roomful of Wall Street analysts this afternoon, and shedding new light on its direct-to-consumer OTT service launching in late 2019. CEO Randall Stephenson opened the two-hour event at Time Warner Center. He took the screening room stage after a sizzle reel played. The short piece climaxed with a special-effects shot of a Game of Thrones dragon flying directly over the head of a young AT&T mobile phone user. “Lots happened…

Hulu Snags Dr. Ruth Docu In Fast Sundance Pick Up; Magnolia To Distribute

One day after the Ask Dr. Ruth documentary was unveiled as one of the high-profile premieres at 2019 Sundance Film Festival, turns out the Ryan White directed pic has a very therapeutic fest afterlife with Hulu and Magnolia.

The now Disney-dominated s…

One day after the Ask Dr. Ruth documentary was unveiled as one of the high-profile premieres at 2019 Sundance Film Festival, turns out the Ryan White directed pic has a very therapeutic fest afterlife with Hulu and Magnolia. The now Disney-dominated streamer will air the docu on the famed sex therapist and Holocaust survivor next year after Sundance concludes. Additionally, with Magnolia as a distributor, Ask Dr. Ruth will also receive "the widest theatrical release for…

Listen Up, Audiophiles: Qobuz Sets U.S. Launch Of High-Res Streaming

Qobuz, a music tech company founded in France in 2007 that bills itself as “the world’s first and only certified hi-res streaming and download service,” is planning to launch in the U.S. in 2019.
The company, which already operates in…

Qobuz, a music tech company founded in France in 2007 that bills itself as “the world’s first and only certified hi-res streaming and download service,” is planning to launch in the U.S. in 2019. The company, which already operates in 11 European countries, has not yet revealed the launch date but it has opened a U.S. headquarters and set pricing for its streaming packages. Subscriptions range from $9.99 a month for standard-issue, MP3-quality streaming all the way up to…