Neil Young said, in his hit song, Hey Hey, My My, that 'it's better to burn out, than to fade away'. Well, what's even better than either of these options is to be transferred from your designated streaming platform onto a new subsidiary platform being developed by the original holder of your IP. While I will be the first to admit that even a songwriter as talented as ol' Neil Young would struggle to fit this lumpy mouthful round a catchy tune. I will also readily admit that, poetically, it has far less resonance than his original sentiment, but that does not stop it from being any less true than it is.
And, indeed, it is a phrase that almost exactly describes the situation that has occurred with Friends' presence on Netflix. The show, unsurprisingly, proved wildly popular when it was brought onto the streaming service in 2015 and helped introduce one of the most successful television shows of all time to a new generation. It reportedly costs Netflix some £78 million a year to host Friends on their service.
Well the coffers of Netflix will soon be heftier, to the tune of £78 million per year, as Warner Brothers, the production company that created Friends, have announced plans to develop their own proprietary streaming service. Naturally, their flagship show for this service to try attract in customers would be Friends. In order for it to be exclusively offered on their own streaming service, Warner Brothers will thus be withdrawing it from Netflix at some point when their own service is ready to be unveiled.
Kevin Reilly, the Head of Content for WarnerMedia, announced, while speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour that, "For the most part, sharing destination assets like that is not a good idea. Expect that the crown jewels of Warner will ultimately end up on the service."
As such, while the new streaming service from Warner is set to be released in the US, it may take a while before it is launched in Europe. It is unclear whether they will withdraw Friends from Netflix on a regional basis - ie. purely from US Netflix, leaving it available to European users until such a time as their service is launched in Europe, or whether it will be withdrawn from all regions.
However, with no release date set for the platform it will hopefully be a while either way before this comes to pass, and we all have to come to terms with have slightly less television available than the already thousands of hours of television available that we will never get around to watching.