the office netflix

Netflix seems to announce a new original series every day or so, filling the service with more shows to binge than humanly possible. And yet, that increasingly massive library isn’t always the main draw for subscribers. Case in point: it seems that NBC’s The Office, which ended its nine season run in 2013, remains one of the most popular shows on Netflix, even in the face of so many Hot New Serialized Streaming Experiences.

This raises a very important question: what happens when NBCUniversal’s new streaming service launches next year? Where does The Office live?

NBCUniversal’s new streaming service is expected to launch sometime next year, and pop culture fans are already wondering where the countless movies and shows that exist under that umbrella will exist. Will they all migrate to the new service or will they be allowed to hang out on Netflix and Hulu for that sweet licensing fee money?

NBC Entertainment co-chairman George Cheeks recently addressed this (via The Hollywood Reporter), noting that no decision has been made just yet. However, he revealed that NBC’s The Office remains among Netflix’s most watched shows. In fact, he said it’s one of their five most popular shows:

The Office has been on Netflix for 10 years and it’s still in their top five. The licensing deal is up in a couple years, it will be interesting to see where that goes.”

That quote is more fun if you imagine it in a mafia wiseguy voice: “One of your five most popular shows, eh? Would be a tragedy if something was to happen to it. If someone was to take it away…”

In all seriousness, Cheeks and the folks at NBCUniversal are right to approach this with caution. Sure, making The Office an exclusive on their new streaming platform would be a draw for many people, but there’s no denying that Netflix is where most people go to binge their Content these days. Their new service is still a gamble – Netflix is the unmovable object around which all modern pop culture revolves. Keeping their show present and available there, for a steep fee of course, could prove valuable.

And Netflix has already made it clear that they will pay giant piles of money to keep certain shows on the service no matter what. Just last year, they paid $100 million to keep Friends streaming, even though Warner Bros. is launching their own streaming service soon and could have easily made it an exclusive. That payment proved that older, beloved shows that are infinitely rewatchable are just as valuable (probably moreso) as the latest glossy Netflix original. It’s simple, really: Netflix may push the boundaries of the television format, but they’ve yet to make a classic sitcom with hundreds of episodes that people will revisit until the day they die because comfort food is absolutely delicious.

So The Office being among Netflix’s five most popular shows isn’t just good trivia – it’s a sign that NCBUniversal and Netflix are soon going to be staring each other down over the streaming future of a beloved show. If Netflix was willing to cough up $100 million for Friends, would they be willing to cut a similar check for The Office? With the streaming landscape increasingly splintered and Netflix prices rising soon, I’d wager yes.

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