This weekend, some Netflix users noticed something concerning: There was an “Availability Until 1/1/19” label on the Friends page. Many alarmist tweets later, pop star Hayley Kyoko, aka “Lesbian Jesus,” stepped in and on Monday the people finally got the response they were waiting for:
But it appears that Friends was at one point in jeopardy of leaving the service at the end of the year. According to the New York Times, Netflix will pay around $100 million for the rights to continue streaming the show, which is owned by WarnerMedia, through the end of 2019. This is quite an increase from the $30 million that Netflix paid previously.
Friends fans can feel secure that the show will remain on the streaming service for all of next year, but Netflix users hoping to re-watch the classic ’90s series much longer may be disappointed. Now that AT&T has acquired Time Warner, the company has a plan to start a streaming service of its own, and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said at an investor conference on Tuesday that Friends constitutes “content we definitely want on our platform.” He also said that the current agreement between Netflix and AT&T is nonexclusive, meaning that both services could theoretically end up streaming the show in 2020.