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Despite All the Hype, Study Finds ‘Friends’ Isn’t HBO Max’s Biggest Lure

Stephanie Sengwe

“Friends” has become an unexpected focal point in the streaming wars. Fanfare around the show began back in December 2018 when a glitch made it appear as though the hit TV show would no longer be available on Netflix. The streaming giant, however, tempered fans and announced that the series would be available on the platform through 2019.

In July 2019, WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer chairman Robert Greenblatt confirmed that the show would leave Netflix and find a new home at HBO Max. The move reportedly cost the media company a whopping $400 million dollars to make, but because of the strong following behind the show, it seemed like a worthy investment.

A new survey conducted by the Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult, however, reveals that while the pull of “Friends” is strong, it doesn’t overwhelm the pull of other content coming to the platform.

According to the results, 34 percent of respondents said they were more likely to subscribe to HBO Max because it includes TV shows and movies from HBO. This is slightly higher than the 32 percent of people who said they’d subscribe to the streamer because of the Warner Bros. TV library, which holds all 10 seasons of “Friends.”

The study also found that when it came down to specific IP, at 21 percent, “Friends” lagged behind “Game of Thrones” and the DC Extended Universe, which, respectively, 23 and 26 percent of respondents said they would subscribe to HBO Max to watch.

The Morning Consult survey also found that people’s current streaming habits inform whether or not they’ll subscribe to new services. Netflix and Disney+ subscribers proved to be more open to taking on additional services, with 26 percent of Netflix subscribers saying they would sign up for HBO Max, while 34 percent of Disney+ subscribers said the same.

HBO Max is set launch on May 27 and will cost $14.99, the same price as HBO Now. At launch, HBO Max original shows will include “The Flight Attendant,” a one-hour thriller series starring and co-produced by Kaley Cuoco; “Love Life,” a 10-episode half-hour romantic comedy anthology series starring and co-produced by Anna Kendrick; and “Dune: The Sisterhood,” an adaptation of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s book based in the world created by Frank Herbert’s book “Dune.”

HBO Max will also be the exclusive home for “The Big Bang Theory.”

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