NBCUniversal made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, confirming the long-feared yet largely inevitable result. As more and more streaming services are announced, and more and more profits stem from demand for popular, pre-existing properties (along with new, must-watch originals), it was only a matter of time before “The Office” moved to its producers’ streaming home.
“‘The Office’ has become a staple of pop-culture and is a rare gem whose relevance continues to grow at a time when fans have more entertainment choices than ever before,” Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises, said in statement to Variety. “We can’t wait to welcome the gang from Dunder Mifflin to NBCUniversal’s new streaming service.”
Netflix has been preparing for this eventuality. The streaming giant with more than 148 million worldwide subscribers has been ramping up original content in recent years in the hopes of establishing its own stable of must-see TV. A few originals have appeared to make a dent in that regard, including “Stranger Things,” “Ozark,” and “The Crown,” but many of their popular shows have a limited lifespan or are already ending — series like “Orange Is the New Black,” “Making a Murderer,” “13 Reasons Why,” and the Marvel series are all ending or already on the outs.
Netflix also confirmed “The Office’s” departure with a tweet of its own, pointing out that the series will still be available “ad free” until 2021.
We’re sad that NBC has decided to take The Office back for its own streaming platform — but members can binge watch the show to their hearts’ content ad-free on Netflix until January 2021
— Netflix US (@netflix) June 25, 2019
Still, NBCU stood to make quite a lot of money if they continued to license “The Office” to Netflix. “Friends,” another popular series licensed to Netflix from Warner Bros., saw its deal extended to the tune of $100 million back in 2018, extending the series’ run on Netflix through the end of this year. Most expect WarnerMedia to maintain exclusive rights following 2019, however, meaning Netflix will lose two of its big ticket comedies in the span of two years.
Those considering adding NBCU’s streaming service will be doing so well after they’re asked to purchase plenty more content hubs. In addition to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon (among other existing streamers), Disney+ is set to launch in November 2019, Apple TV+ will debut in Fall 2019, and WarnerMedia’s streaming service is set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2019, as well. NBCU’s service will hit in 2020, featuring pre-existing NBCU properties (expect for “The Good Place” to make the move off Netflix, as well), in addition to new original programming. Little else is known about NBCU’s offering, though it will be ad-supported to some degree, meaning you might be going back to watching “The Office” with commercials.
All seasons of “The Office” are available to stream on Netflix, for now.