The Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch will soon have a new streaming home thanks to a deal reportedly to the tune of half a billion dollars.
Netflix on Tuesday announced that The Office is set to leave its platform in January 2021, giving subscribers just about a year-and-a-half more to stream the wildly popular sitcom. While the company only releases limited viewing figures, NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt told Vulture last year he believes The Office is Netflix's most popular acquired show.
But now, it's headed to NBCUniversal's upcoming ad-supported streaming service, which launches next year. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Universal Television held an auction for streaming rights to The Office, which Netflix participated in. NBCUniversal offered $100 million a year for five years, the report says, which beat Netflix's bid.
So will NBC's bet that The Office will bolster its streaming platform pay off? The Verge reporter Julia Alexander suggests not, speculating on Twitter, "Office is great, but not a show that leads subscriptions. People will just pirate or buy a boxset for $60." Alexander goes on to write that "The Office and Friends were never primary reasons to get Netflix; but we enjoyed it all being packaged in ... NBCU and WarnerMedia are going to need big pulls, which they don't really have, to compete."
WarnerMedia is soon launching a streaming service as well, which is expected to eventually be the exclusive streaming home of Friends, although Netflix recently paid $100 million to keep streaming it for another year.
But Netflix is hoping its slate of original content will make up for the loss of shows like The Office, and it just so happens it has a show in the works from the co-creator of The Office starring Steve Carell called Space Force. Shortly after the Office announcement on Tuesday, Netflix re-upped the trailer for Space Force on Twitter, writing, "just leaving this here for totally no reason." Brendan Morrow