As expected, NBCUniversal will pull “The Office” from Netflix beginning in 2021 and make it available exclusively for its upcoming streaming service.
Netflix’s deal to stream all nine seasons of “The Office” expires after 2020. NBC, like WarnerMedia, Apple and Disney, is launching its own streaming service, which is expected to be available next year. NBCU’s deal with Universal Television runs for five years, and was worth about $100 million per year, according to CNBC, which added that Netflix offered $90 million. Netflix declined to comment while NBCU did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the pricing.
“‘The Office’ has become a staple of pop-culture and is a rare gem whose relevance continues to grow at a time when fans have more entertainment choices than ever before,” said Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCU direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises. “We can’t wait to welcome the gang from Dunder Mifflin to NBCUniversal’s new streaming service.”
“The Office” is the number one series on streaming video-on-demand. In 2018, it was streamed for over 52 billion minutes, and in April 2019, it was viewed nearly twice as much as the next most-viewed program on SVOD.
“‘The Office’ is one of our most prized series, and we are thrilled it has found an exciting new home where generation after generation will continue to discover and rediscover Michael Scott’s most cringe-worthy moments, Jim and Pam’s will-they-or-won’t-they, and the incredible quirky ensemble that makes each episode a masterclass in comedy,” said Pearlena Igbokwe, president, Universal Television.
Netflix addressed the news on its Twitter handle shortly after the announcement: “We’re sad that NBC has decided to take The Office back for its own streaming platform — but members can binge watch the show to their hearts’ content ad-free on Netflix until January 2021.”
We're sad that NBC has decided to take The Office back for its own streaming platform — but members can binge watch the show to their hearts' content ad-free on Netflix until January 2021
— Netflix US (@netflix) June 25, 2019
Netflix has been spending ambitiously on content, though most of the attention is paid toward its fast-growing output of original series and films. But old sitcoms like “The Office” and “Friends” — which Netflix paid between $70 and $100 million to retain — still remain hugely important to the streamer’s business model.
Netflix is in danger of losing “Friends” too, since the Warner Bros.-produced sitcom is expected to be a part of WarnerMedia’s own streaming offering.