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Netflix should not forget Hollywood’s political past

Production companies bracing for strike action are not as financially prepared as the last time their workers took to the picket lines
Netflix should not forget Hollywood’s political past
  • In November 2007, the Writers Guild of America organised a strike that lasted 100 days 
  • Will history repeat itself with crew members threatening to walk out again?

In 2014, Netflix (US:NFLX) signed a four-year, $120m deal to become the exclusive streaming home for all 236 episodes of Friends. It was a smart move. Over the ensuing five years (in 2019 Netflix extended its US deal for one more year at the cost of $100m), Friends was the most watched series on the platform, helping attract a new generation of Netflix subscribers. 

But the sitcom – which recently celebrated its 27th birthday – is no longer available to US subscribers and has fallen way down the viewing ranks in the company’s other markets to be replaced by programmes made by Netflix studios. The platform’s most popular programme to date is Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton – made by the American screenwriter who Netflix poached from ABC in 2017 – and at time of writing, all five of the most-watched television series on Netflix in the UK have been made by the company’s own production house. 

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