Okay so it looks like people didn’t abandon Netflix over Friends after all. It shows once again that polls showing that people are considering dropping something are simply not an accurate way to measure much of anything. We were not convinced at the time.
If earlier information was to be believed, Netflix was going to lose a huge audience when Friends left the service. Why? Because Friends was one of the services top rated shows. And the thought was that fans who only like that show would drop the service because according to them it was the primary reason they had Netflix in the first place.
Well, there was not an 8 million person drop in Netflix subscribers after Friends left. In fact Netflix is in a stronger position now than it has ever been. Even with Disney+ in the picture. This may be because of the rise streaming due to covid-19 or because there was never any threat in the first place. HBO Max launched last month with Friends in tow yet Netflix has increased engagement and viewership over the past 3 months. This means that Friends is now on another service and as of yet the transition from Netflix to HBO Max has not materialized. Either it turns out they found something else to watch or they were not the primary account holders.
A recent analysis of Netflix movies and popularity shows that it turns out people just watch what’s on the service even if the content is something that never really made an impact at the movie theater. Why? Because it is recommended. Why do people watch what is recommended? Because recommendations are based on what you have already indicated that they like. Maybe Friends made it on Netflix because Netflix knew there were viewers who would like ensemble comedies based in New York. If Friends were such an important engine to the success of Netflix than HBO Max would already be buzzing by now. Where is all of the celebrating for the return of Friends. Next time a story comes out about some very influential show leaving Netflix be at The Office or Andy Griffith followed by 50 angry comments saying “that’s the only reason I had it” take a breath before you scream from the rooftops that the end of Netflix is imminent.