The wildly popular sitcom Friends won’t be leaving Netflix just yet.
In a tweet on Monday, Netflix (NFLX) said that the series, which has been available on Netflix since January 1, 2015, will remain on the service through 2019, allaying fears that it would be removed on January 1, 2019. After that, however, the show’s Netflix fate is unknown.
Over the weekend, people took to social media to lobby Netflix to keep Friends streaming on its service. The show’s listing on Netflix indicated that the show would leave the service as of January 1. Those efforts seemed to have resonated with Netflix, which removed the January 1 deadline on Monday. The company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday that Friends leaving Netflix on January 1 was only a “rumor,” according to the news outlet. And now we know it’s sticking around for more time.
While the battle might have been won, the next one might be far more difficult to fight.
Friends is owned by Warner Bros. TV, a subsidiary of WarnerMedia, which is launching its own streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019. It’s expected, though unconfirmed, that WarnerMedia will pull its most popular content from competing streaming services in 2019 and make them exclusively available to its own platform at that time. As one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, Friends will likely join that list.
But Friends and WarnerMedia might just be the beginning. Disney is also launching its own streaming service next year called Disney+ and will make its content exclusively available there.
Looking ahead, for Netflix and its users, 2019 might be a bumpy year.