Newsletter January 16: Good ol’ Friends & ER turning 25, more popular than ever on increasingly crowded streaming market

16 January 2019

The iconic sitcom Friends and George Clooney’s breakthrough drama ER are turning 25. Despite their age, shows like these have proven crucial in building customer loyalty, especially so in the streaming business. As several actors (e g WarnerMedia, Disney & NBCUniversal) are gearing up to launch new streaming services, cult shows like these will likely gain in power. They attract and retain subscribers – and they build great libraries. Eventually, the likes of Netflix (etc) will have to fill the void with something else.

Losing out on Friends, with its 10 seasons and 235 episodes, would hardly make a dent in Netflix vast library of content. Focusing on the Scandinavian Netflix library with Norway as our reference, and excluding movies, the total runtime of shows sums up to about 15,700 hours. This means that Friends make up about 1% of the total library in runtime. However, looking at recent figures on viewing, Friends is one of the most watched shows on the service. Consequently, the show is very important to retain subscribers – much more so than its’ share of runtime indicates.

Share of total runtime (shows) and runtime of Friends on Netflix, Norway, Q3 2018
In the US, Friends is the second most watched Netflix show (after the US version of The Office). Also, other popular shows on the SVOD service are rumored to be removed, as rights owners/competitors are planning to launch their own streaming services. It would be a real headache for Netflix if more loyalty-creating programs were to move elsewhere. The importance of these shows was recently proven by Netflix making a 100-million-dollar-deal to keep Friends in its library throughout 2019. So obviously, these 25-year-olds’ are still highly valued. The recipe for success in the SVOD business seems to be a combination of big-budget originals (promoting brand and image) and large libraries of well-known and loved content. An illustrative example is Hulu – when it published ER in 2017/2018, some 35,000 people watched every single one of the 331 episodes.

Both Disney and WarnerMedia are set to launch their respective streaming services in 2019 and will likely move content from Netflix in the process. Furthermore, NBC Universal announced plans on rolling out a streaming service in 2020. The market is becoming more crowded and we are happy to follow this development together with all of our readers. Surely, exciting times are ahead.

Mediavision blogs:

The Swedish gambling market: The upcoming re-regulation, part 2
Today we are delving into consumer preferences vis-à-vis different types of gambling. If we start by looking at monthly reach per gambling type, lotteries and scratch cards currently dominate in KPI “monthly reach”. But, since lotteries as well as […].

Mediavision press releases:

Increasing number of streaming services in Nordic households
The appetite for streaming services among Nordic consumers continuously rises. Today, 5.3 million Nordic households subscribe to at least one video streaming service (SVOD). Also, the number of SVOD subscriptions per household increases […].

Industry news:

No-deal Brexit will cause ad market recession
According to a report by Enders Analysis, the UK will be sent into its first advertising recession in a decade in the event of a hard Brexit. According to the report, spending will likely fall by nearly 1.4£ bn this year alone.

Spotify inks deal with T-Series
Spotify has inked a global distribution deal with the Indian film and music company T-Series. Spotify is preparing a full-scale launch in India, which could take place in the coming months according to sources.

NBCU to launch streaming service in 2020
NBC Universal plans to launch a free, ad-supported streaming service in early 2020, the company announced on Monday. This comes as rivals Disney and WarnerMedia prepares the launch of streaming services as well.

Netflix raising prices in the US
Netflix is raising its U.S. prices by 13 to 18 percent, its biggest increase since the company launched its video streaming service 12 years ago. Its most popular plan will see the largest hike, to $13 per month from $11.

FAANG stocks bounce on US stock market
The US stock market turned upward on Tuesday with the FAANG stocks leading the way. Out of the FAANG companies Netflix jumped the most with 6,5 percent following the news of its price increase in the US.

Mediavision in the news:

Noir for Nordic broadcasting in 2018
Despite major sporting events and a general election in its biggest country, the Nordic region in 2018 turned off traditional TV according to research from Mediavision.

Firma nórdica incrementa contenido para competir con Netflix
NENT Group, compañía de medios y entretenimiento que opera servicios de transmisión, se ha asociado con el estudio estadounidense FilmNation Entertainment […].

Industry events

  • MIPTV: April, 8-11, Cannes, France

*Events where Mediavision will be presenting