The Office Streaming Rights

Yesterday brought the upsetting news that Netflix would be losing the streaming rights to NBC’s hit sitcom The Office at the beginning of 2021. The deal for the popular workplace mockumentary comedy series is up at the end of 2020, and while there was talk of possibly sharing streaming rights, NBCUniversal walked away with the exclusive rights to stream the series on their forthcoming subscription streaming service. And they paid a hefty $500 million to get the show for five years. Find out how it all went down below.

If it seems weird that NBCUniversal had to pay for a show that originally aired on NBC, that’s because the show was produced by Universal Television, a different division of NBCUniversal, and in association with Deedle-Dee Productions and Reveille Productions.

The Hollywood Reporter and CNBC have details on NBCUniversal grabbing The Office streaming rights after Netflix’s deal expires. There was discussion of Netflix continuing to offer The Office ad-free while NBC had an ad-supported option to stream the series. But in the end, Universal Television held meetings with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon (maybe Apple too) to discuss the possibility of acquiring the rights. However, the TV studio reportedly kept their distance as they wanted to land a fair deal for themselves and the profit participants who benefit from a new streaming deal, such as series creator Greg Daniels.

The determining factor ended up being an auction for the streaming rights to The Office. Netflix came in with an offer of $90 million a year for the rights to all nine seasons of the series, but NBCUniversal came in with the offer of $100 million a year, and that was enough to take the cake.

This could very well be the future for the most popular shows that are available on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. It’s likely that WarnerMedia will face the same decision when the deal for every episode of Friends expires at Netflix again. The company has their own streaming service in the works, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they wanted to have exclusive rights to the popular NBC sitcom for themselves.

The good news is that The Office fans will soon have another show from creator Greg Daniels with Steve Carell in the lead. It’s called Space Force, and the two created the show together. Will it make up for the lack of The Office in the Netflix library? We’ll find out in about a year and a half.

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