Did you hear?
As of yesterday, a show that is fifteen years old called Friends finally went dark on Netflix. That’s right, 236 episodes of Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe and a capuchin monkey, which was representative of 44.6% of all viewing time on Netflix over the course of the last five years…
…went away for good.
The social sphere was up in arms. Where in the hell would people who only have $12.99 a month to pay for their entertainment options find Friends? How could they go on knowing that “The One With The Dozen Lasagnas” and “The One Where Rachel Finds Out” couldn’t be streamed for free, on an iPad, next to their pillow, at three in the morning, while they were sound asleep, dealing with sleep apnea and a general entitlement about fifteen year old shows being made available on the one service in which they’d invested their hard-earned parents’ cash?
But that’s not the story.
The story, in fact, is that streaming services are desperate for the kind of one-and-done thirty-minute sitcoms that Friends represented. That South Park is. That The Big Bang Theory is, and which garnered it something insane like $425 million from HBO for the streaming rights. The list of decades-old network shows nabbing hundreds of millions of dollars for their streaming rights for the upstart streamers is the story. But the story behind the story behind the story?
Maybe original content on streaming services isn’t good enough. Maybe it generally sucks. Maybe that’s why The Office is what people are still searching for at eleven-thirty on a Tuesday evening instead of binging an original show they’ve never heard of, and which represents the kind of water-cooler pressure people don’t want to submit themselves to any longer.
Especially since…are water coolers even still in existence?
Talk to Network executives and aside from them telling you that Network TV will be dead in 5 to 10 years, they’ll also tell you that the streaming services (including their own) are gonna have some major trouble keeping people engaged in their originals. People are finding it’s just too much pressure. When I want to watch something, I wanna watch something that doesn’t require too much brain power. I want to just enjoy something mindless. I want to escape. So when I have a choice in watching a re-run of Friends versus a new original series that will require five episodes for me to get invested?
Friends, all the way.
Which, I don’t know if you heard? Is gone for good.
Well, at least five months, at which point Friends shows back up on HBO Max via WarnerMedia. For $500 million dollars.
The minute Friends was gone for good, I got it for $54.99 from Target. Which represents about a 0.0000099999999% price point versus what WarnerMedia spent.
Which makes me a pretty damn good businesswoman.
The next ten years are going to bring some pretty amazing new changes in Hollywood and how people watch content. That’s for sure. They’re going to bring new streaming services, new groundbreaking original series and movies, and huge paychecks for content and the creators who make said referenced content-like-things.
But when it’s two in the morning and I’ve got acid reflux? I’m gonna be watching Friends. Which will never go away for me.
Because I bought the damn DVD. Which you could do, instead of complaining about it on social media.
It’s just a thought.