And the situation for Netflix could potentially get worse. Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, has not announced plans for a streaming service of its own — but it could, and then it could decide to pull its big draws, like “The Office” and “The Good Place.”
Industry observers think it’s not so cut-and-dried, though.
Jill Rosengard Hill, an executive vice president at Magid, a research-based media firm, told CNN Business that “the potential loss of a ‘Friends’ is notable, but one show does not make a subscription service” because Netflix is “so far ahead that it’s unlikely that they’ll lose their dominant position for awhile.”
Besides, it’s not clear that the big studios and networks will actually take all their content off Netflix, or at least it’s not clear that they’ll stick with that move once they make it.
“Pulling content is a lot harder than it sounds,” said BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield.
“Having lots of content is critical, but I don’t think any one show is critical,” Greenfield told CNN Business. “I’d almost reverse the question and ask, ‘Does Warner Bros. want to take a show like ‘Friends’ that’s now reaching tens of millions of people and generating substantial profits and make very little and show it to very few?'”
Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T, which owns WarnerMedia, said Tuesday that WarnerMedia and Netflix had reached a deal to keep the series on the service, but on “a nonexclusive basis.” That means WarnerMedia can monetize the series while it prepares to launch its own streaming service. Then it can make “Friends” a part of its lineup, too, if it wants.
“I don’t think people sign up for HBO to watch movies, yet people watch a lot of movies on HBO. They sign up for ‘Game of Thrones,'” Greenfield said. “I don’t think people are signing up for Netflix to watch ‘Friends,’ but I think they’re consuming a lot of ‘Friends.'”
CNN’s Jill Disis contributed to this report.
News credit : Cnn