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Netflix’s Sarandos Says Losing ‘Friends’ Didn’t Have an Impact, Similar to When They Lost Disney & Nickelodeon Content

Jason Gurwin

Last July, WarnerMedia confirmed that “Friends” would move from Netflix to their upcoming streaming service HBO Max. While that doesn’t launch until May, the show disappeared from Netflix on January 1st, 2020. As part of Netflix’s Q4 Earnings Interview, Guggenheim’s Michael Morris asked Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, how losing “Friends” has impacted member engagement.

Sarandos said that the moved hasn’t impacted “anything that we’ve seen or can measure.” He said that the loss of “Friends” isn’t anything new for Netflix and that incredibly popular content has come on and off the service. In the past when this has happened, “through our personalization and deep library have been able to find their next favorite show, and that’s what will happen with ‘Friends’ fans.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings used the example of losing all Disney content about 10 years ago through their previous Starz deal. When that happened, Hastings said that “growth just kept rising.” Sarandos said an even more dramatic example was when Netflix lost all of Nickelodeon content and it was “completely displaced by other kids watching overnight — equally good content, people just had the ability to find something new.”

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