Popular sitcom Friends will now be available on Netflix in India, in addition to its permanent home on fellow streaming service Hooq, which is partially owned by Warner Bros., the company that helped produce the iconic show. Friends was previously also available on Hotstar in India, as part of its tie-up with Hooq, but that deal expired at the end of March. Starting April 1, all 10 seasons of Friends are now on Netflix and Hooq in India. On traditional linear TV, Friends airs on Viacom 18-owned Comedy Central in India.
Its believed that Friends’ arrival on Netflix in India is part of the multi-year deal it struck with Warner Media back in December last year. Netflix is reportedly paying $70-80 million (about Rs. 484–554 crores) for 2019 alone to stream Friends, a notch below the $100 million-figure (about Rs. 693 crores) that had been floated earlier. The deal includes different kick-in dates for the beloved series across the globe, and April 1 had happened to be the one for audiences in India.
In October last year, Hotstar had gained Friends — alongside a bunch of other Warner Bros.-produced content — as part of its licensing agreement with Hooq. But then last month, Hotstar signaled on its platform that Friends would soon be leaving its service.
Netflix India had no comment on the new development, though its social media handles did create a Sacred Games-themed promotion for the show’s arrival, meant to spin around April Fools’ Day.