The Pending Streaming Wars Could See Netflix and Hulu Lose Some of Their Biggest Shows

Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

While Netflix spends hundreds of millions of dollars on original content like Orange Is the New Black and Stranger Things and films like Bright and Triple Frontier, it also spends a substantial amount making sure established hits like Friends and Frasier remain available for subscribers.

That might be coming to an end.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told a television industry conference this week that AT&T will shortly be introducing its own streaming service and that it makes sense to keep WarnerMedia content like Friends exclusive in its attempt to capture a lucrative streaming audience. (AT&T owns WarnerMedia.)

For Netflix, the consequence of content owners like WarnerMedia pulling their titles and starting their own rival services could be significant. While people subscribe to Netflix and Hulu for any number of reasons, the ability to stream classic shows is a priority. One Wall Street Journal estimate found that an average Netflix viewer spends 72 percent of their time on the platform watching those library titles. Netflix has allegedly told NBCUniversal, which owns The Office, that the Steve Carell-led series draws more viewing hours than anything else, new or otherwise, on the service. (NBCUniversal is also plotting its own service, and shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation could soon be an exclusive to its offering.) In an era of cord-cutting, shows that people once viewed in syndication are now being binged online.

Hulu may have a leg up in this department. WarnerMedia recently sold its 10 percent stake in that streaming service to Disney, with Disney CEO Bob Iger hinting that the deal may have involved making sure some of its content remains available on the service. Hulu also has the rights to popular NBCUniversal titles like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and This Is Us through 2024.

Without such agreements in place, licensing shows is often for a limited amount of time. Netflix, for example, has rights to Friends only through the end of the year. WarnerMedia could elect to share the series, but if the goal is to drive subscriptions through content that can't be seen elsewhere, it might opt to scoop it back up and leave Netflix without one of its most valuable assets.

One thing is clear. The days of being able to subscribe to a single streaming outlet and getting most of your content needs met are probably drawing to a close. The good news? Not being able to secure another license for Friends will save Netflix quite a bit of money. The streamer paid $100 million for the rights in 2018.

[h/t The Verge]

Game of Thrones Counseling Available for Upset Fans Following Series Finale

Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

It’s no surprise that some fans are having a hard time dealing with the fact that Game of Thrones is over. The show ran for eight seasons, and became a huge part of fans's lives and Sunday night routines. Moreover, since the season 8 premiere first aired, fans haven’t been too thrilled with the trajectory of the show, and it has only gotten worse. (The final episode in the series scored the lowest rating in the show’s history on IMDb).

But if you’re having a hard time wrapping your mind around the end of Game of Thrones, or just want to vent, there's a counseling service here just for you. CNN reports that if you go to Bark.com, a UK-based online marketplace, you can find a Game of Thrones counselor who will listen to your every qualm about the show. "The professionals will help them digest their feelings and interpretation of the show, which could range from anger and confusion to sadness and grief," the service description reads.

"We watch them to escape our daily lives and immerse ourselves into the 'unknown,'" Lynette, a counselor from Bark.com, said in a statement regarding people's TV show obsessions. "This is the very reason why we sometimes become addicted to watching them, the stories they tell become part of our identity."

There’s options of booking a 30-minute or 60-minute session, which range from $25 to $51. Fans can choose from a face-to-face session, group session, or online, and can specify which specific problems they’re having regarding the show. 

What do we say to Game of Thrones-related anxiety? Not today!

New Coke is Making a Comeback Thanks to Stranger Things

Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things.
Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things.
Netflix

In what was considered one of the biggest consumer product marketing blunders of all time, the Coca-Cola Company upset devotees of their signature beverage by introducing New Coke in 1985. Sweeter and smoother than the original, people practically revolted over the change, and the drink eventually disappeared from shelves.

In 2019, New Coke is not only resurfacing—it might turn out to be one of the company's savviest marketing moves to date.

CNN reports that Coca-Cola will be producing 500,000 cans of New Coke in collaboration with Netflix to promote season 3 of Stranger Things, the 1980s-set paranormal drama. Cans will be featured on the show in a kind of retro product placement.

Fans can look for the cans online, which will be offered as a free gift with the purchase of two special Coca-Cola Classic or Coke Zero Sugar glass bottles with Stranger Things artwork beginning Thursday. Special vending machines will also be set up in major cities, and visitors to Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola can purchase the product there, too.

The company is using the exact same recipe for New Coke that got them in hot water back in 1985. For many, it will be their first chance to sample the drink that anti-New Coke activist and retiree Gay Mullins described as being "unbelievably wimpy" and tasting like Pepsi (a comment meant to be derogatory). Originally intended to replace Coca-Cola Classic, the drink was eventually rebranded Coke II and sold through 2002.

Coca-Cola anticipates demand will exceed their 500,000 can allotment, which means you're likely to see them pop up on eBay before long.

The new season of Stranger Things premieres July 4.

[h/t CNN]

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