The Ever-Lasting Popularity of Classic Shows Might Just Dictate the Streaming Wars

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27 Jan 20

The Ever-Lasting Popularity of Classic Shows Might Just Dictate the Streaming Wars

In 2019, Netflix US announced that it would be losing two of its biggest shows, Friends and The US Office. Even though it has been a long time since either show concluded its original run on television, the two are still incredibly appealing to consumers.

When initially adding Friends and The US Office to the service, Netflix knew how much they were worth. According to the findings of CNBC, Netflix forked out $100 million to stream Friends, up to $90 million for the US Office, and around $150 million for Disney-owned shows and movies.

Having lost two major draws to the service, Netflix announced that it could now focus more on original content: but that stance didn’t seem to last very long.

Recognised shows will always be major draws

As much as losing Friends and The US Office to competing streaming platforms will free up some budget for Netflix, it’s been found that the two most-watched shows on Netflix are The US Office at 52.08 billion minutes and Friends, at 32.6 billion minutes, as shown by PopCulture.

In the binge culture of today, shows like Friends and The US Office provide easy, good quality, and reliable entertainment, cutting out the time that used to be required to search through the huge catalogue of Netflix’s films and shows. As the shows were so popular for such a long time, the names have become synonymous with high-quality entertainment.

So, any platform that has the licence to the brands will, naturally, be incredibly appealing to potential customers. It’s not just in video streaming, either, with online game streaming websites like the online casino NetBet recently releasing the new licensed Friends game, with the same principle applying to the Ghostbusters, Jumanji, and even the Jimi Hendrix slot games.

It seems as though Netflix recognised this fact after losing out on keeping Friends and The US Office, especially with shows like Grey’s Anatomy and NCIS also receiving huge amounts of viewing time, as the platform forked out over $500 million for the global streaming rights to Seinfeld, per outlet ScreenRant.

As much as Netflix claimed to now have more space for its own productions, it ended up pumping even more money into getting one show, which won’t come to the platform until 2021. It just goes to show how much value recognisable names bring to even massive platforms like Netflix.

They aren’t the only service looking to rekindle some fans of older IPs either.

Amazon looking to compete by reviving Middle-Earth

In 2001, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring took the world by storm, with The Two Towers and The Return of the King also being critically acclaimed. Fans of the films, and the novels, have been deprived of new viewing content for years, with the exception being the Middle-Earth based trilogy of The Hobbit – but the prequel trilogy cut a very different tone and grade of quality to The Lord of the Rings.

In any case, to further establish themselves as a streaming giant, Amazon Prime Video is currently working on a Lord of the Rings show, which is said to have cost them $1 billion. The move came primarily as a way for Amazon to get its own Game of Thrones, with a fantasy setting and violence being popular in TV shows right now, making the recognised screen brand of Lord of the Rings a no-brainer.

As much as platforms are encouraged to include as much content as possible and bring in their own exclusive offerings, there’s no doubt that classic shows being added or extended by a platform are the best ways to appeal to new customers as well as retain subscribers.