” I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.”
As the six stars of “Old Friends” walked into the studio one by one, they passed Monica’s living room, reclined in Chandler and Joey’s sofa chairs and walked into the Central Perk Café before the “Old Friends” theme song “I’ll Be There For You” came on and everyone gathered in front of the big fountain orange couch. The fans in front of the screen were crying.
After 17 years, the classic American sitcom “Old Friends” reunion show officially aired on May 27, with a one-hour and 45-minute interview special, from Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and other six main actors, to producers, writers and other behind-the-scenes creators, and even key supporting characters from the show, such as Tom Selick (Monica’s ex-boyfriend, Richard), Maggie Wheeler (Chandler’s ex-girlfriend, Janice) Lady Gaga, Beckham, BTS (Bulletproof Youth Group) and other special guests (the domestic version is censored) are all present.
“After the final return to kill, the six main actors have only ever been together once, until today.” The reunion show hit the subtitles, this reunion has been long-awaited.
The fan market, the six main actors and that orange couch to complete the reorganization, this seems not only a star IP nostalgia, more like a period of time, all back 27 years ago, Rachel broke into the cafe in a wedding dress, and then six young people in New York City to live, work, love, a 10-year-long fun, warm and ludicrous story began.
And on the capital field, this reunion is equally grand. In the overseas market, the “Old Friends” reunion show landed on the streaming HBO MAX, which was regarded as a congratulatory gift for the first anniversary of the launch of HBO MAX. In the domestic market, the reunion special “unified” the three major video videos, in Akiyip, Youku, Tencent Video three major platforms jointly online.
The global market is welcoming the reunion, hoping that it will bring more life to “Old Friends”.
‘Old Friends’ reunion, fans busy with nostalgia, video sites busy with copyright
The value of a classic IP does not only lie in its instant traffic dividends and infectious power, nor in its long life and derivative development chain, but also in its impact that grows stronger and stronger after time settles down.
For the global entertainment market, “Friends” is one such IP. From its broadcast in 1994 to its final conclusion in 2004, the sitcom stretched to 10 seasons, aired for 10 years, won the National Popular Choice Award for the most popular comedy for five consecutive years, and was broadcast in more than 100 countries with more than 100 billion times worldwide.
It is different from the epic production, pattern huge plot brain-burning IP drama that is now prevalent in the global market, such as the Game of Thrones series that was popular two years ago, and now carries Disney+’s Mandalorian, Wanda and Vision and other derivative dramas, but with warm sets, light-hearted drama to create a warm worldly peach of a decade, a lively living room where friends sit around in a group. Daily life is messy but wonderful, the six main actors accompany the audience to grow up together, no real harm is done, and everyone has a happy ending.
So “Old Friends” invariably became a symbol in global pop culture from the 1990s to the early 21st century, and an emotional imprint for millennials. “It’s about that time in your life when friends are family”, says David Crane, co-creator of “Old Friends”. Figuratively representing the beautiful abstract concepts of friendship, love and companionship, it also symbolizes the silly and boring but precious youth of a generation.
On the day the “Old Friends” reunion special aired, domestic #Old Friends #WhyWeLoveOldFriends# and other related hot searches on Weibo, the WeChat index rose 502.07% daily, and various European and American film and television KOLs and Vs spontaneously made related retransmissions, and Weibo’s “Old Friends” related topics reached 1.23 billion readers. On Douban, the “Old Friends” reunion special has more than 24,000 ratings, with a rating of 9.5.
The nostalgia boom that “Old Friends” has created in the fan market has also made various content platforms eager to harvest users by virtue of the east wind. In the overseas market, HBO MAX is undoubtedly hoping that the “Old Friends” reunion special can attract a wave of incremental members. From the news of Warner Brothers making the “Old Friends” reunion special in early 2020, the IP fever has completed several rounds of fermentation, although the reunion project has been delayed due to the impact of the epidemic, but now it has really landed and fans are collectively cheering.
The three domestic Ai YouTeng platforms have seized the moment to distribute the rights to the “Old Friends” reunion. Although “Old Friends” does not show eye-catching data in terms of traffic heat, the long-tail value of the classic IP drama cannot be ignored.
“Another name for the “Old Friends” reunion special is “Warner just wants you to buy a streaming membership to go and re-watch the original episodes all over again.” A critic on Weibo teased.
The joke points out the value behind the “Old Friends” reunion special, the nearly two-hour reunion is just a lead-in, the real purpose is to let nostalgic fans revisit the original show again and deepen the IP emotional accumulation. The fans revisiting and re-watching will invariably increase the value of the IP content, and HBO MAX, which has the rights to ten seasons of “Old Friends” in the overseas streaming market, will obviously usher in a wave of user dividends.
In the domestic market, “Old Friends” episode rights are in full bloom, and currently Akiyip, Youku, Tencent Video, and B Station have all announced that they have obtained “Old Friends” content rights. Although the domestic American drama fans are relatively vertical, “Old Friends” as a 17-year-old drama, the core fans have grown up, IP awareness in today’s young audience may not be greater than expected, but “there is an old man like a treasure”, video sites are not willing to miss this global IP.
From overseas to domestic, a classic IP triggered the copyright war
What is worth noting now is perhaps the straightforward capital interest struggle behind the “Old Friends” reunion special.
Overseas market HBO MAX as the exclusive copyright owner, there is no unnecessary copyright disputes, but before obtaining the exclusive rights, Warner Bros. but spent a big cost. 2018, Warner Bros. has not yet developed the streaming business, but also tried to recover the rights of “Old Friends” from Netflix. That’s when Netflix spent $100 million to complete a one-year lease renewal. But things just appeared a reprieve, a one-year lease expired, Warner Bros. to suppress Netflix, to build the determination of streaming media also gradually revealed, early 2020 Warner Bros. decisively retracted the “Old Friends” rights.
This recycling process saw HBO MAX purchase the exclusive broadcast rights to the “Old Friends” series for the next five years for $425 million. Warner Bros. serves as the parent platform for HBO MAX, but the deal was nothing more than a left pocket out and a right pocket in, with the traditional studios’ intentions of collecting the rights clearly evident.
The rights turnaround, which eventually led to Netflix subscribers wailing, made it impossible to watch Old Friends online in North America while HBO MAX was still online, once causing Old Friends Blu-ray, DVD and digital downloads to skyrocket, and at the time, Old Friends disc prices were not cheap, with a 10-season Blu-ray set for $94.93 (about 604 yuan) and digital The price of a 10-season Blu-ray set was $94.93 (about RMB 604) and digital downloads were as high as $139.99 (about RMB 891).
In fact, the “Old Friends” series out continues to ferment out online dividends and paid value, and as a classic IP, the development related to “Old Friends” has also attracted the attention of the capital market. Media reports, 2019 “Old Friends” series celebrated its 25th anniversary, Lego ideas series newly launched “Old Friends” sets, IKEA used its own products as props to restore Monica’s apartment, many cities have imitated the Central Perk coffee shop, Warner Studios and Superfly cooperation in New York to launch “Old Friends” immersive experience exhibition, the U.S. furniture giant Pottery Barn then launched with the hand Warner Brothers “Old Friends” themed series of products, including mugs, home accessories, fabrics, furniture and 14 other peripherals. Not long ago, LEGO officially released a new series of creative masters 10292 “Old Friends apartment”.
Obviously, if one is interested in offline derivative peripheral development, “Old Friends” is still a treasure trove.
And in the country, although there is no copyright holder yet for official IP operation, “Old Friends” still has a certain presence in the capital field. Ai YouTeng B Station has laid out the rights to the “Old Friends” series, and YouAiTeng took the reunion special to divert traffic for the series to go online, only the “Old Friends” reunion has caused a more lively chain reaction than expected in the country.
A few hours after the domestic launch of the “Old Friends” reunion show, Ai YouTeng, as the copyright holder, jointly issued a statement condemning the appearance of infringing pirated videos of the “Old Friends” reunion special on B website, which seriously infringed on the legitimate rights of the creators and copyright holders. As of the time of writing, the relevant video on B website has been removed, but B station officials have not responded.
In fact, overseas drama has long been regarded as a must for major platforms. In 2010, Sohu Video first began to purchase foreign drama resources, introducing “The Big Bang Theory” and “Old Friends” into the country, and in 2014, Tencent Video signed a contract with HBO to exclusively introduce “Game of Thrones”, “Atlantic Empire” and other U.S. dramas, and overseas dramas are rapidly harvesting users in the country, but in 2015 However, in 2015, policies such as “re-broadcast after trial” and “foreign restrictions” were introduced, and overseas dramas ended the era of simultaneous broadcast, and the overseas layout of video sites was hindered.
By 2017, Akiyay cooperated with Netflix, Youku cooperated with NBC Universal and Sony, and the second wave of overseas drama layout of video sites appeared. However, compared to Sohu video, which started the “watch American drama in Sohu” boom, the overseas drama after the “foreign restrictions”, due to the impact of IP volume and censoring, except for the Game of Thrones series, there is no universal traffic masterpiece.
Now, the B station to expand the screening room, take the “kill Eve”, “normal people” and other overseas series, Youku announced on line “Sherlock”, “No. 9 secret”, “my genius girlfriend” and other overseas IP series, overseas series seems to again become a domestic video platform to stabilize users, increase user stickiness one of the weights.
The competition between video platforms is becoming more and more obvious. Foreign drama content may not be the core content of the platform, but it is one of the important segments of the platform content construction. The platforms are trying to stand on the same starting line in terms of copyright, and then after the episodes are online, the platform community atmosphere and content operation will complete the decisive victory. And “Old Friends” is like a gunshot that brings everyone back to the battlefield.
In terms of commercial development, the “Old Friends” IP has already been planned by many people for a rainy day. According to the SkyEye APP, the “Old Friends” trademark has been applied for registration by many companies and natural persons, and the international classification involves clothing, shoes and hats, food, advertising sales, feed and seeds, etc. The applicants include Warner Brothers Entertainment, Tai Po Batty Clothing Co. The name of the cafe “Central Perk” in “Friends” has also been registered as a trademark by a number of companies and natural persons.
The public might see the “Old Friends” reunion special as a node where, on the one hand, HBO MAX is once again making a push in the overseas streaming market, and the IP advantages of traditional studios come into play, invariably influencing Netflix and other streaming platforms. On the other hand, this may also be the beginning of another round of foreign drama IP rights battle on domestic video sites, and more foreign sea episodes may appear on mainstream video platforms after “Old Friends”.
The global streaming competition is getting more and more intense, and putting aside the IP splits and premiums that come with all kinds of copyright content wars, the good news is that viewers will see more of it.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/old-friends-reunion-a-classic-ip-triggered-by-the-battle-for-domestic-rights-in-china/
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