Begun, the streaming wars have.
Netflix confirmed the news on social media, shortly after NBC made the announcement.
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
Access to NBCU’s ad-supported service, which launches next year, will be free for those viewers who already pay for cable, while those without a provider can pay separately for a subscription. An ad-free version of the streaming service will also be available at an additional cost.
“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,” said Bonnie Hammer, Chairman of NBCUniversal Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises, in a statement. “We can’t wait to welcome the gang from Dunder Mifflin to NBCUniversal’s new streaming service.”
To say this will be a huge blow to Netflix is an understatement. Office reruns remain one of the streaming giant’s biggest draws. As NBC notes, the show “was streamed for over 52 billion minutes” last year.
“The Office is one of our most prized series, and we are thrilled it has found an exciting new home where generation after generation will continue to discover and rediscover Michael Scott’s most cringe-worthy moments, Jim and Pam’s will-they-or-won’t-they, and the incredible quirky ensemble that makes each episode a masterclass in comedy,” said Pearlena Igbokwe, President, Universal Television, in a statement.
As we reported back in February, Netflix is also poised to lose another marquee title — Friends — in the near future, as WarnerMedia readies the launch of its own streaming service. “You can expect the crown jewels of Warner” — referring to hit shows like Friends and The Big Bang Theory — “will ultimately end up on the new service,” WarnerMedia chief creative officer Kevin Reilly told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “Sharing destination assets is not a good model. My belief is they should be exclusive to the service.”