Netflix will still be there for fans of the old TV series Friends, but maintaining the relationship comes at a high price.
According to a report in the New York Times, Netflix paid $100 million to keep showing Friends in the US through 2019. That's more than triple the $30 million a year Netflix had previously been paying for the long-running TV series.
Netflix's willingness to pay so much for a series that ended in 2004 is the latest sign of growing competition in video streaming.
Besides current rivals such as Hulu and Amazon, Netflix will also face a significant threat next year when Walt Disney Co. plans to roll out a video streaming service featuring its popular movies and TV shows. As part of its move into streaming, Disney will be removing much of the entertainment that it has licensed to Netflix for years.
That fact may have figured into Netflix's calculations about how much Friends is worth to its service. But Netflix is still spending far more on original programming such as "Stranger Things" and "The Crown" to distinguish itself from its rivals. The strategy has forced Netflix to take on billions of dollars in debt to pay for the programming, but it has helped the company build the world's largest video streaming service with 137 million users.
AT&T — who owns the rights to Friends — is also planning to offer a video streaming service in the future. There is nothing in AT&T's deal with Netflix that prevents it from featuring Friends on that service beginning in 2020, according to the Times.
Do you think it was worth it? Do you use friends or other TV shows to practice English?