‘The Of­fice’ to leave Net­flix as stream­ing bat­tles heat up

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAIME­NT - By Mae An­der­son

Net­flix is los­ing its most pop­u­lar TV show, “The Of­fice,” in a sign of things to come as more TV and movie mak­ers start their own stream­ing ser­vices and take back their of­fer­ings.

In a tweet Tues­day, Net­flix said it was “sad” that NBC will no longer li­cense “The Of­fice” to Net­flix, but added that Net­flix will still have it for the next year and a half. NBC Uni­ver­sal’s stream­ing ser­vice is due to start in 2020. Start­ing in Jan­uary 2021, the yet-un­named NBC ser­vice will be the ex­clu­sive home in the U.S. of all nine sea­sons of the sit­com, which fol­lows the hap­less em­ploy­ees of the Dun­der Mif­flin pa­per com­pany.

Al­though Net­flix has been em­pha­siz­ing orig­i­nal shows and movies, pre­vi­ously tele­vised shows such as “The Of­fice” are still pop­u­lar, es­pe­cially as peo­ple aban­don tra­di­tional pay TV providers like ca­ble and rely on stream­ing for such shows. “The Of­fice” was the most viewed show on Net­flix in 2018, streamed for over 52 bil­lion min­utes, ac­cord­ing to Nielsen. That equates to nearly 15 hours for each of Net­flix’s 58.5 mil­lion U.S. sub­scribers. “Friends” was No. 2 and “Grey’s Anatomy” was No. 3.

Pro­duc­ers of such shows have been happy for the ex­tra rev­enue they get for li­cens­ing shows to Net­flix and sim­i­lar ser­vices. But those part­ners are mor­ph­ing into com­peti­tors as con­tent mak­ers like NBC Uni­ver­sal, Dis­ney and Warn­erMe­dia cre­ate their own ser­vices. Ap­ple is also build­ing its own stream­ing ser­vice.

These con­tent com­pa­nies are hop­ing to build vi­able stream­ing busi­nesses — though it’s not clear how much rev­enue they’ll get from them at first. For that rea­son, these com­pa­nies have to weigh whether it’s worth los­ing rev­enue from the likes of Net­flix in the short run.

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