- On Monday morning, Netflix’s show page for “Friends” said the sitcom would be available to stream only until January 1, 2019.
- But that may have been a glitch, according to several reporters who cover the media space.
- Netflix removed the date from the show page on Monday afternoon.
Netflix gave the internet a collective heart attack when it wrote on its show page for “Friends” that the 1990s sitcom would be available to stream only until January 1, 2019. The show has been available on Netflix for four years.
But that could be have been a glitch.
Here’s how the page appeared on Monday morning:
But on Monday, NBC editor Claire Atkinson tweeted that she had asked Netflix’s content boss, Ted Sarandos, about “Friends” while attending the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. Sarandos indicated that “Friends” would not be leaving Netflix in January, according to Atkinson.
Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Flint also tweeted that the inclusion of the January 1 date on Netflix’s show page “appears to have been a mistake and [the] show is not leaving.”
Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, but it removed the date from the “Friends” page on Monday.
This is how the same page appeared Monday afternoon:
This apparent glitch on Netflix’s site comes at a time when many are wondering about the fate of shows Netflix has licensed in the past.
“Friends” is a Warner Bros. Television series. That would make it a logical fit for AT&T’s upcoming streaming service, which is expected to launch in 2019. AT&T bought Time Warner (which includes Warner Bros.) earlier this year.
AT&T’s upcoming service will also include HBO, which AT&T now owns and is pushing to be more like Netflix in terms of output. HBO has always focused on a small but acclaimed collection of TV shows that makes up its Sunday-night lineup, but under AT&T quantity will be important in addition to quality.
That’s not the only new competition Netflix will face in securing licensing rights.
Disney is launching its own streaming service late next year called Disney+, and the effects of that are already being felt on Netflix as well. Netflix has canceled three of its five Marvel shows in the last two months, the most recent cancellation was “Daredevil” last week (Disney owns Marvel).
While data showed that interest in the Marvel shows had been lacking, the cancellations also reflect the bitter battle over content as more players enter the streaming war. “Sons of Anarchy” also left Netflix this month (it can still be watched on Hulu). The FX series might have been a casualty of the Disney-Fox merger, and its removal from Netflix could signal that other Disney- and Fox-owned shows could be in danger once the merger is complete.
Netflix spent an estimated $US8 billion on content this year in an effort to have 1,000 original shows and movies on the service.