Netflix releases streaming numbers on a case-by-case basis (and even then, they are not to be fully trusted), which is one reason Nielsen ratings have seen a renewed interest since starting to report on streaming viewership. The latest Nielsen report comes courtesy of The Wall Street Journal and says that Netflix users are spending more time streaming “The Office” than any other show on the streaming platform. Data was pulled from streaming numbers in 2018. “Friends” — which Netflix paid $100 million to keep on the service last year — ranked second but is not even close to the percentage of minutes watched that “The Office” represents.
According to the report, Top 10 programs on Netflix based on minutes watched in 2018 are as follows: “The Office,” “Friends,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “NCIS,” “Criminal Minds,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Shameless” (tied), “Supernatural,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “Ozark.” What is potentially problematic for Netflix is that only two of these 10 shows are original productions: “Orange” and “Ozark.” Non-originals made up 72% of the total number of minutes people spent watching Netflix as of October 2018, Nielsen reveals.
That “The Office” is pulling in these numbers is significant because NBCUniversal is in the process of launching its own streaming service to rival Netflix. Sources told Wall Street Journal that internal discussions have already begun in regards to pulling “The Office” from Netflix so that the NBCUniversal platform is its exclusive streaming home. Netflix would be losing one of its most-streamed shows if that happened, and “Friends,” also NBCUniversal, could present another near-term problem. Netflix announced earlier this year “Friends” would remain on its platform through 2019 but there’s no word on what will happen after. In addition, the launch of Disney+ this November poses a similar challenge, as Disney owns ABC and ABC is behind “Grey’s Anatomy.”
All nine seasons of “The Office” are currently streaming on Netflix. The show ran on NBC from 2005 to 2013 and has continued to be so popular with audiences that revival questions are constantly being floated to cast members, although Steve Carell has already gone on record saying he’s not interested in an “Office” reboot.
“It’s really flattering that it’s somehow caught people’s attention, so many years later, but I don’t think you can recapture that same magic,” Carell told Collider last year. “I really think it comes down to that. If it was magic. I don’t want to overstate it. It was just a TV show. I just wouldn’t want to make the mistake of making a less good version of it.”
Netflix has not announced an end date for “The Office” streaming on its platform. Head to WSJ for more on the latest Nielsen report.