Now that Disney and NBCUniversal are getting into the streaming business, the rerun you’re probably half-watching right now while you second screen might be leaving Netflix, meaning we’re either going to have to go back to the days of box sets or invest in a lot of new streaming services.
According to the Wall Street Journal, NBCUniversal has been seriously chatting about yanking The Office from Netflix when its contract runs out in 2021. The move makes sense because we spent 45.8 billion minutes watching the show on Netflix last year. It stands to reason audiences might just spring for a new platform if all the reruns they love were to suddenly move. And The Office isn’t the only show that might disappear.
Three companies launching their own streaming services next year—Disney, NBCUniversal, and WarnerMedia—are responsible for the TV shows and movies that make up 40% of users’ time spent viewing Netflix. And as much as we all like The Crown and Stranger Things, we like Friends more. Nonoriginal programming made up for 72% of the time people spent viewing Netflix as of October 2018:
“Eight of the 10 shows people spent the most time watching on Netflix in the U.S. last year were reruns, including old hits such as NBCUniversal’s “Parks and Recreation,” WarnerMedia’s “Friends” and Disney’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” the data show.”
Netflix says the company will just replace the shows we watch with new shows. Problem solved:
“In an earnings call last week, Chief Executive Reed Hastings said the company has long expected to lose some of its library content and is “ready for it, anticipating it, and in fact we are eager to have more and more of our money to be able to do spectacular new titles.”
When do we reach peak streaming? How many services can the average viewer reasonably adopt? Is this the start of a dystopian TV future where only the wealthiest among us are able to watch 100 consecutive episodes of Frasier? Guess we’re set to find out.