Is ‘Friends’ Leaving Netflix? How to Watch the Series in 2019

Since 2015, Friends fans and Netflix subscribers alike have streamed hours upon hours of the hit television series. But, sadly, 2019 could be the last year to binge-watch the show on Netflix. Is Friends leaving Netflix? Find out more about the series’ rumored departure, plus where you can watch Friends after next year, ahead.

Friends Cast

After December, ‘Friends’ will no longer be available on Netflix. | NBC

‘Friends’ on Netflix

In 2015, Netflix purchased the rights to stream all ten seasons (236 episodes) of Friends to subscribers in the United States. Since then, the hit television series has become available to Netflix subscribers in various countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.

How much did Netflix pay for ‘Friends’?

Prior to the Friends Netflix deal, the series was only available on select networks (as reruns), for purchase on iTunes, or via DVD at Walmart, Target, and other retailers. In order to receive the rights, Netflix had to drop a lot of money. The streaming service paid Warner Bros. a whopping $118 million for the entire Friends catalog.

Netflix didn’t just purchase the exclusive streaming rights, it also paid to have the series remastered. In order for Friends to be available in HD and widescreen on Netflix’s platform, Warner Bros. had to convert the original 35 mm film masters to HD and switch over the format from its original 4×3 aspect ratio to 16×9.

Is ‘Friends’ leaving Netflix?

Rumor has it, Friends is leaving Netflix in January 2019. According to reports — and angry Twitter reactions — the streaming service added the expiration date to the television series’ details page over the weekend and Friends fans have already expressed their sorrows. “I’m canceling #Netflix if they remove Friends,” wrote one Twitter user. “Netflix is really removing Friends on January 1st and the only reason I have an account is to rewatch the same episodes of the show whenever I’m bored so I guess it’s time to cancel my subscription,” wrote another. Another Friends fan expressed their frustrations in a very relatable Ross Geller gif:

Netflix did not take the reaction lightly and worked with Warner Bros. to extend their streaming deal. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the platform agreed to renew their contract with the studio on a non-exclusive basis for 2019. “The Holiday Armadillo has granted your wish: “Friends” will still be there for you in the US throughout 2019,” Netflix posted on Twitter on Monday.

Where can I watch ‘Friends’ after 2019?

The reason for Warner Bros. and Netflix’s new non-exclusive agreement? WarnerMedia’s new streaming platform is set to launch in the last quarter of 2019, and will likely include the entire Friends catalog (along with other series from the studio).

After AT&T purchased Time Warner, the network made quick strides to change strategy across multiple sectors, including its new streaming service. In addition to Warner Bros. productions, the new streaming platform will include HBO series (as AT&T also now owns the network), too. With the future of cable at threat, the network is pining to be more like Netflix, which explains its removal of one of Netflix’s most popular show offerings (and one of the most popular series of all time).

Those looking to watch Friends in 2019 can still do so via their U.S. Netflix subscriptions. However, it is unclear if the show will still be available in other countries. And, Friends will likely become available on WarnerMedia’s streaming service in late 2019. In addition, you can still access reruns on various cable networks, purchase episodes on iTunes, or buy the entire DVD catalog at select retailers.

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