Apple tried to secure rights to stream ‘Friends,’ but Netflix’s $100 million sealed the deal

“How do you value a sitcom that hasn’t been on TV for 14 years? Easy: You tell Netflix you’re going to take it away, and see how much they pay,” Peter Kafka reports for Recode. “The answer, as we all know by now, is $100 million. Which is what Netflix is going to pay AT&T* for the right to stream ‘Friends’ next year.”

“Netflix wasn’t the only streamer interested in ‘Friends,'” Kafka reports. “Other bidders for the show included Hulu, the streaming service currently owned by Disney, Fox, NBCU and … WarnerMedia, as well as Apple, which doesn’t have a streaming service yet, but also plans on launching one next year. I’m told that Apple, which is spending a lot of money commissioning its own shows, but has yet to buy a library of existing ones, ended up pulling its bid for ‘Friends.'”

“You’re likely to see a repeat of this plot sometime in the near future, when Comcast’s NBCUniversal has to think about what it wants to do with ‘The Office,’ which it currently streams on Netflix but will most likely want to keep for its own, yet-to-be-announced streaming service that it will likely launch once it sells its stake in Hulu” Kafka reports. “NBCU execs say Netflix has told them ‘The Office’ generates more viewing hours than anything else on the service. Which means Jim and Pam may end up getting more money than Ross and Rachel.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Mega-hit sitcoms never die, they just keep printing money!


  1. So now they’ve got a few extra millions to use on fixing APFS on fusion drives on High Sierra like they promised at launch!

    Keeping promises is a more important virtue than streaming old soaps.

  2. I didn’t watch it then and I ain’t watchin’ it now. Most of the actors that were on it only induce a gag reflex. Nauseating. A waste of money.

    I can see Apple using a tactic though to drive up the price on stuff like this by merely being interested and then pull out to limit Netflix’s future ability to do more content by spending too much on the big ticket items.

  3. More dumb decisions from Tim. I’ve got an 11yr old. Her and her friends have been glued to Netflix watching Friends. And parents like us allow it because it’s harmless and a GREAT show. Apple could have paid small change to them, and had a million young kids engaging with their tech. But no – Tim wanted a slightly nicer watch strap for $1000+ instead.

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