‘Friends’ Reunion on HBO Max Drove a Huge Surge for the Original Show

Friends Reunion special
HBO Max’s Friends reunion special is already driving nostalgic rewatches. Terence Patrick/HBO Max

At 3am ET on Thursday, HBO Max debuted its long-awaited Friends Reunion special that brings together the original cast of the beloved sitcom for a night of memories and warmhearted nostalgia. But amid all of the fuzzy emotions is the cold hard business truth: HBO Max needs The Reunion to drive interest and engagement. On that front, the special seems to be succeeding thus far.

Vulture‘s West Coast Editor Josef Adalian reports that new subscribers are electing to begin their HBO Max subscriptions with a Friends rewatch as an increasingly high rate.

As of Thursday morning, the HBO Max app was trending at No. 22 among the iOS free apps and No. 4 among top grossing apps in the U.S., per appannie.

Friends: The Reunion special on HBO Max has also driven a surge of U.S. and worldwide demand for the original sitcom. As of May 24, Friends was the fourth most in-demand overall show in the world—behind only Game of Thrones, Attack on Titan, and La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)—and the eight most in-demand overall show in the U.S., behind stalwarts such as The Simpsons and The Mandalorian (both on Disney+).

Friends has now jumped 13 spots in Parrot Analytics’ global ranking over the last 30 days, and 32 spots in the U.S. rankings in the same time frame. The Reunion is something of a culmination point for all of this renewed interest in the series.

Friends The Reunion Special HBO Max Viewership
Global Demand for Friends. Parrot Analytics

On May 24, worldwide demand for Friends was 58.1x higher than demand for the average show globally, up 37.7% over the last 30 days. Year to date (Jan. 1-May 24, 2021), global demand for Friends has average 42.7x the demand of the average show worldwide. Many streaming industry observers have wondered how previous library hits such as Friends and The Office would perform once they left Netflix. Now, we have one additional data point to suggest an answer.

HBO Max Friends Viewership
U.S. Demand for Friends Parrot Analytics

In the U.S., Friends was 38.2x the average show in terms of demand on May 24, up 48.6% over the last 30 days. Year to date, U.S. demand for Friends has averaged 26.1x more demand than the average show in the U.S. The sitcom, which ran on NBC for 10 years from 1994-2004, has proven to travel well across global markets as well.

Friends; The Reunion HBO Max
Global Demand for Friends by territory. Parrot Analytics

Parrot Analytics sifts through social media, fan ratings, and piracy data to represent audience demand, which reflects the desire and engagement expressed for a title within a market. It is not a reflection of viewership.

‘Friends’ Reunion on HBO Max Drove a Huge Surge for the Original Show