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State of the Screens

The One Where ‘Friends’ Disappears From Streaming (for Now)

By January 10, 2020No Comments

The new decade brings a new streaming home for Friends as the show moves from Netflix to HBO Max.  One minor detail is that HBO Max does not launch until May!

Key details for Friends:
1) 10 
seasons (1994-2004)
2) 236 episodes
3) 29M viewers at peak (Season 2)

Average viewers by season (YoY growth):
1) 
1994–95 – 24M
2) 
1995–96 – 29M (↑ 21%)
3) 1996–97 – 25M (↓ 15%)
4) 1997–98 – 24M (↓ 4%)
5) 1998–99 – 24M (↓ 2%)
6) 1999–00 – 21M (↓ 12%)
7) 2000–01 – 20M (↓ 2%)
8) 2001–02 – 25M (↑ 21%)
9) 2002–03 – 22M (↓ 11%)
10) 2003–04 – 23M (↑ 5%)

Flashback: ‘Friends’ to Move to HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s New Streaming Service

Comparison of annual deal size between Netflix and Warner:
1) Netflix deal #1 (2014–18) –  $30M
2) Netflix deal #2 (2019) – $80M
3) HBO Max deal #1 (2020-24) – $85M

Quick math #1 for Friends and HBO Max:
1) Domestic subscriber target – 75M
2) The annual cost to license Friends – $85M
3) HBO Max would be paying $0.09 per month for each domestic subscriber to license the show.

Quick math #2 for Friends and HBO Max:
1) The annual cost to license Friends – $85M
2) # of seasons – 10
3) # of episodes – 236
4) $/season to license – $8.5M
5) $/episode to license – $360K

That is brand new information!  A reunion may be in the works, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Video: Matt LeBlanc Looks Back at ‘Friends’ and Playing Joey For 12 Years

More #1: ‘Friends’ Turns 25: Ranking Its 25 Best Episodes

More #2: ‘Friends’ Creators Reveal Surprises, Regrets, Reactions to HBO Max Move Link (09/14/2019)

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

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