'Friends' is leaving Netflix in January, as the battle over streaming TV shows heats up
- "Friends" is leaving Netflix in January.
- It will likely be included in AT&T's upcoming streaming service.
- It's one more example of the battle over content as more services enter the streaming war.
"Friends" will always be there for you, just not on Netflix as of January.
The hit 1990s sitcom, which is still one of the most popular comedies in the US thanks to its availability on Netflix, is leaving the streaming giant on January 1, according to its page on Netflix's website. If you're a fan, New Year's Eve will be the last day you can binge-watch "Friends," until it eventually lands on another streaming service.
The Warner Bros. Television series will likely be included on AT&T's upcoming service, which is expected to launch in 2019. AT&T bought Time Warner earlier this year, and was swift in making known its strategy going forward.
Also included in the service will be HBO, which AT&T now owns and is pushing to be more like Netflix in terms of output. HBO has always focused on a small but acclaimed collection of TV shows that makes up its Sunday night lineup, but under AT&T, quantity will be important in addition to quality.
Disney is also launching its own service late next year called Disney+, and the effects of that are already being felt on Netflix, as well. Netflix has canceled three of its five Marvel shows in the last two months, the most recent being "Daredevil" last week (Disney owns Marvel).
While data showed that interest in the Marvel shows had been lacking, the cancellations also reflect the bitter battle over content as more players enter the streaming war. "Sons of Anarchy" also left Netflix this month (it can still be watched on Hulu). The FX series might have been a casualty of the Disney-Fox merger, and could signal that other Disney- and Fox-owned shows could be in danger once the merger is complete.
Netflix spent an estimated $8 billion on content this year in an effort to have 1,000 original shows and movies on the service. If "Friends" is any indication of the future, it will need all the original content it can get.
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