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Netflix to Focus More on Original Content Now That ‘Friends’ and ‘The Office’ Are Leaving

Stephanie Sengwe

Friends and The Office are among the most watched shows on Netflix, that their pending departure from the service had many wondering what will become of those viewers. With the recent announcement that Netflix lost over 126,000 subscribers in the U.S. in its second quarter, it’s safe to say concerns about Netflix’s third quarter numbers are valid.

The streaming service, on the other hand, wants viewers to fret not. Netflix stated that regardless of the popularity of their licensed shows, they still amount to a small percentage of their overall streaming numbers. Moreover, when they have added licensed content to the platform, the company noticed that viewers also wound up gravitating toward other content available on the service.

The biggest silver lining for the company is the fact that instead of spending millions of dollars on licensed programming, Netflix is going to spend that money on producing original content.

In their letter to shareholders released earlier this week, Netflix stated, “We’ve been moving our content from semi-exclusive catalog and 2nd-window unbranded content to branded exclusive 1st window original content for many years. Much of our domestic, and eventually global, Disney catalog, as well as Friends, The Office, and some other licensed content will wind down over the coming years, freeing up budget for more original content. We don’t have material viewing concentration as even our largest titles (that are watched by millions of members) account for only a low single digit percentage of streaming hours. From what we’ve seen in the past when we drop strong catalog content (Starz and Epix with Sony, Disney, and Paramount films, or 2nd run series from Fox, for example) our members shift over to enjoying our other great content.”

As indicated in their second quarter results, Netflix original content from—from When They See Us, Dead To Me and Murder Mysteries—draws big numbers for them, so the decision to produce more of it makes sense.