Oh, no! “The Office” is going to disappear from Netflix!
The sitcom — which went off the air more than six years ago — will no longer be on Netflix as of 2021. Which means you’ve only got 18 months to watch the 201 episodes that originally aired on NBC from 2005-2013. (If you start July 1, you’ll have to watch a 22-minute episode every 2.73 days.)
If you don’t make it, you’ll have to stream episodes on NBC Universal’s still-unnamed new service, which will launch sometime in 2020. Or you could watch reruns on TV. Assuming you still have a TV, and it’s hooked up to a cable or satellite system. (“Office” repeats air on Comedy Central and the Paramount Network.)
So, yeah, move along. Nothing to see here.
Well, that’s not true. It’s not the (faux) dreadful news that Netflix subscribers only have another year-and-a-half to stream an old sitcom, but what it signifies about the future of television. The future of streaming.
Guess what, all you cord-cutters who thought you were going to save big bucks by canceling your cable/satellite subscriptions: The days when you could subscribe to a couple of streaming services and see pretty much anything you want are over.
Netflix and Hulu won’t be enough. Want to watch “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory” or “Game of Thrones”? You’ll need the WarnerMedia streaming service, set to launch later this year.
Want to watch all the incarnations of “Star Trek”? You’ll need CBS All Access.
Want to watch all the old “Star Wars” movies and all the new “Star Wars” TV series? You'll need Disney+, which is scheduled to launch Nov. 12.
(That will also be the home of the new series “High School Musical: The Musical,” which is currently in production in Salt Lake City.)
And there are others, like YouTubeTV and Amazon Prime, that offer original programming. Plus services like DirecTV Now, Acorn TV, PlayStation Vue, Fubo TV, Vudu, Philo TV and umpteen streamers tied to individual channels.
It used to be that there were too many channels to keep track of. Now, there are too many streaming services.
And it’s no longer going to be possible to have one subscription — like a cable or satellite company — to have access to everything you want to see. Not just because “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” are on different streaming services, but so are old favorites you want to keep watching.
Netflix doesn’t release ratings or viewership numbers, but the Daily Beast reported that “The Office” is that service’s most viewed show, period.
And the amount of money involved is staggering. NBCU will reportedly pay $100 million a year for the streaming rights to “The Office.” And nobody makes deals like that unless they think they’ll make it back in subscriber fees.
Not all the streamers are particularly expensive. CBS All Access is $5.99 a month (with commercials); Hulu is $5.99 (with commercials); Disney+ will be $7; the NBCU service will be about $12 (with commercials); WarnerMedia’s service will be about $16; Netflix is $12.99; Amazon Prime is $12.99.
But when you start adding them up, that group alone is $73 a month — and they still won’t get you every show you might want to see.
That’s $14 more per month than you’ll pay if you sign up for Comcast’s 220+ channels programming package, and $24 more than the 140+ channels package.
That’s a much bigger deal than “The Office” moving from one streaming service to another … in 2021.