Netflix may lose The Office. At one point not so long ago, the subscription-streaming concept was still just barely getting off the ground. Without any immediate plans to completely alter the face of home entertainment, Netflix went from a mail order DVD service to the go-to platform for streaming content directly into one's home.
As the popularity of Netflix grew, and people started to realize that the service was offering quite the bang for the buck, other providers began to materialize, eager to challenge Netflix at its own game. With this sort of push behind it, it didn’t take long before basic cable became less interesting to many. Some of the programs that people knew and loved from cable TV were already being snapped up by Netflix, allowing subscribers complete access to entire seasons and series. For a period, the streaming service was a veritable buffet of familiar programming, but as the inevitable competition grew, Netflix began to realize that change was definitely on its way.
At present, the biggest change that subscribers to Netflix are likely to notice is that the explosion of new and still-to-come streaming services means many networks want their titles back. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that when its contract expires with Netflix in 2021, the US version of The Office may be snapped back up by NBC Universal, who are getting set to launch their own streaming service. Whether this will also affect Netflix's licensing of the original UK version of The Office as well is unclear. Netflix released a statement in response to WSJ's report:
Looking at overall watch time skews towards titles with many seasons. Most Netflix originals have three or fewer seasons at most. It's why we focus on the individual shows or films members watch, as opposed to how much time they spend on one series versus another. And if you look at most watched titles, Netflix originals accounted for 10 out of 10 in the last quarter, or 21 out of the top 25.
Just three years ago, Netflix managed to acquire The Office, which had finished its wildly popular nine-season run back in 2013. Since that time, WSJ reports (using a Nielsen report rather than Netflix's own viewership data) that the series has gone on to become one of the most watched programs on Netflix. That’s an impressive achievement to say the least, with the same report indicating original programming on the streaming platform unable to hit the same mark. Titles such as Orange Is The New Black and Ozark take the title of most-watched original content on Netflix, but according to WSJ neither one comes anywhere near the ongoing success of The Office. This isn’t the first potentially huge shock to Netflix’s programming, either. Just last February, news hit that beloved 1990s era sitcom Friends was likely going to leave Netflix when its $100 million contract expires next year.
It’s unfortunate that the concept of streaming - that is, a variety of commercial free, unedited programming on one service, for an affordable rate - seems set to change back into something that more closely resembles the cable television model of the past. If every network or studio has their own service, all of which stream only their own content, then one has to wonder exactly how many services are these providers expecting customers to shell out for? For now, that remains to be seen, but the direction that streaming is currently heading in seems to indicate that for fans of numerous programs on a handful of different networks, the option is either pay for several services or go back to buying DVDs and Blu-Rays.
Source: The Wall Street Journal