"Friends" Leaves Netflix for HBO Max | Financial Buzz

“Friends” Leaves Netflix for HBO Max

The beloved iconic sitcom “Friends” has been acquired by HBO Max, AT&T’s (NYSE: T) WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer streaming service.

This new and upcoming streaming service will launch by the first quarter of 2020 and is expected to dig into Netflix’s (NASDAQ: NFLX) market share. The debut will offer 10,000 hours of content alongside all 236 episodes of “Friends.”

The acquisition is paramount for HBO Max’s debut. According to Nielson, a global measurement and data analytics company that claims to be able to calculate viewership, “Friends” was the second-most-watched show on Netflix in 2018. The streamer is also set to lose its most-watched show, “The Office.”

AT&T is paying USD 85 Million annually for U.S. rights for five years. Netflix was paying USD 80 Million annually but was not in a position to be caught in a bidding war. 

This upcoming transitional phase will be critical for the debut of HBO Max. WarnerMedia’s CEO John Stankey aims to bring in 70 Million subscribers, double the number of U.S. subscribers for HBO. WarnerMedia has scheduled to uncover its streaming service in October.

However, an important piece of information that is still unknown is the cost of the streaming service. Currently, Netflix’s standard plan costs USD 13, with streaming giant Hulu’s commercial-free service going for USD 12. According to the “cognoscente” in this market, HBO Max will roughly cost USD 15.