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Netflix Renews ‘Friends’ Rerun Deal

Netflix Renews ‘Friends’ Rerun Deal

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WarnerMedia has reached an settlement in precept to maintain reruns of its well-liked comedy “Mates” on Netflix however on the identical time give AT&T the flexibleness to place the present by itself direct-to-consumer streaming platform resulting from launch late subsequent yr, an individual acquainted with the matter stated.

The multiyear pact is within the strategy of being finalized, the individual stated. Not like the standard Netflix content material offers, streaming exclusivity for “Mates” isn’t assured for the size of the deal.

The weird construction is an indication of the complexities AT&T should navigate because it tries to construct its personal streaming platform with out alienating corporations reminiscent of Netflix Inc. that spend closely on acquired merchandise. When Netflix first acquired streaming rights to “Mates” in 2014, the worth tag was greater than $500,000 an episode.

AT&T’s chief government, Randall Stephenson, touched on the difficulty in remarks in November.

“Distribution, when you have got premium content material, distribution is every thing,” he stated at The Wall Road Journal’s WSJ Tech D.Reside convention in California. “And broad and broad distribution is one thing I really feel very strongly about. And so do I—do I care if ‘Mates’ is proven on Netflix and on a Warner Media SVOD service? Most likely not.”

Though “Mates” ended its run on NBC in 2004, and reruns have been on native broadcast TV stations and cable networks together with TBS and TV Land for roughly 20 years, the present is a robust performer for Netflix. When the “Mates” web page on Netflix was up to date to say the present could be leaving the service at year-end, many followers took to social media-sites reminiscent of Twitter to complain.

Netflix will proceed to be the unique streaming residence of “Mates” for 2019. After that, WarnerMedia has an choice to put the present by itself streaming platforms both solely or in a shared window, the individual stated.

Without having the present solely is lower than superb for Netflix, it would additionally probably imply a discount in value for the sitcom. On the identical time, WarnerMedia can nonetheless depend on cash from Netflix whereas additionally having the content material to spice up its personal startup platform.

AT&T has stated it plans to launch three direct-to-consumer streaming companies within the fourth quarter of 2019. One service would give attention to films and a second would come with authentic programming and extra movies. The third tier could be a package deal of the primary two together with traditional films, youngsters’s content material and different library fare. AT&T hasn’t but set a value construction or a reputation for the service.

WarnerMedia Chief Govt John Stankey advised analysts final week that reveals presently on different platforms together with streaming companies might migrate again to the brand new platform.

“Among the incumbents ought to anticipate that their libraries are going to turn out to be quite a bit thinner,” Mr. Stankey stated.

The AT&T strategy seems to be extra versatile than that of

Walt Disney

, which can also be launching its personal streaming service subsequent yr.

Disney has stated it would cease promoting its films to Netflix and can probably take an analogous strategy with tv content material, a few of which is vastly well-liked on Netflix together with the dramas “Gray’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”

Talking at the united statesinvestor convention in New York Monday, Netflix Chief Content material Officer Ted Sarandos stated he expects that as AT&T and Disney launch their very own direct-to-consumer programming companies, buying and holding onto library content material will turn out to be tougher.

“Our transfer into authentic programming was a guess that some of these items was going to occur,” stated Mr. Sarandos, including that if the individuals who promote outdated content material or create new content material for Netflix have been to evolve, “they’re much less more likely to promote us programming or produce for us.”

Mr. Sarandos additionally famous that its offers for a lot of acquired reveals have years left to run. As well as, the offers Netflix has for reruns of reveals that also make new episodes such because the CW Community’s “Riverdale” will preserve the present on the service a minimum of by the tip of manufacturing of first-run episodes.

The concept of two new opponents doesn’t faze Mr. Sarandos. “There’s loads of room on this enterprise for different gamers to achieve success,” he stated at the united statesconference.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

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