LOS ANGELES - Netflix is saying goodbye to Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin office.
NBCUniversal announced that it will be securing the exclusive domestic streaming rights to the popular series in a statement released on Tuesday night.
This follows news of the company’s upcoming streaming service, on which all nine seasons of “The Office” will be available for five years, starting in 2021.
"‘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-Customer and Digital Enterprises. "We can’t wait to welcome the gang from Dunder Mifflin to NBCUniversal’s new streaming service."
While the announcement comes to the disappointment of many fans, it is not a surprising move from NBCUniversal’s part, especially given the immense success of the sitcom.
“The Office” originally premiered on NBC back in 2005, but has continuously proven its popularity in the years since. In 2018, the sitcom was the number-one series on SVOD (streaming videos on demand) with episodes streaming for over 52 billion minutes. As of April 2019, it was viewed nearly twice as much as the next most-viewed program on SVOD.
“‘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 continues 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 of Universal Television.
NBCUniversal’s withdrawal of “The Office” from popular streaming platforms, such as Netflix, follows several other media giants’ similar moves in their hopes of redirecting viewers to the original source of the entertainment.
Disney was the first to announce their own individual streaming service, stating in 2017 that it would remove its movie library from Netflix as it begins preparations for Disney+.
“We’re sad that NBC has decided to take The Office back for its own streaming platform,” tweeted Netflix. “But members can binge watch the show to their hearts’ content ad-free on Netflix until January 2021.”