Netflix competes for popular shows

Michael Scott, Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley: these characters from “The Office” will be leaving Netflix in Jan. 2021 as the streaming service competes with large companies launching their own services and buying back content.

The company faces uncertain prospects about losing users to new products like Disney Plus.

“The Office” will leave Netflix in January 2021, after NBCUniversal bid $100 million for five years to make the show exclusive to NBC’s streaming service, which will debut in 2020. “The Office” was the most-watched show on Netflix in 2018, accounting for 45.8 billion minutes of streaming. It premiered on NBC in 2005 and risked cancellation in its early seasons. Yet almost 15 years later, its popularity endures thanks to streaming.

“‘The Office’ has everything a show could ever need: comedy, wonderful characters, constant surprises and pure authenticity,” senior Kelsey McIvor said. “I know I will be smiling for the entire 20 minutes, no matter the episode.”

Netflix is also losing its number two show, “Friends,” to HBO Max in May 2020 when the new streaming service debuts. Netflix reportedly paid WarnerMedia $100 million to keep “Friends” on the platform through the end of 2019. Other top five shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “New Girl” are owned by Disney, and could be bought out exclusively for Disney- owned Hulu.

Alongside Hulu, Disney launched their streaming service Disney Plus on Nov. 12, home to Disney-owned Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar content as well as new original programming.

Apple TV Plus launched on Nov. 1 with original programming involving actors such as Steve Carell and Jennifer Aniston.

AT&T-owned HBO already has a streaming service called HBO Now, but will be launching HBO Max as a separate service, including original content as well as content from Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Cartoon Network and others. The cost of these services ranges from $4.99 to $14.99 a month.

“While it is blatantly cruel for ‘The Office’ to be leaving Netflix, I need to be able to stream it at all times, so I would consider buying NBC’s service,” McIvor said.

Other students are also paying for new streaming services. Sophomore Sydney Dollahan says her family subscribes to Disney Plus. Disney reported that 10 million users subscribed to the service within its first day after launching. They project 60 to 90 million subscribers worldwide by 2024.

“Most streaming services don’t have a very wide variety of Disney company films and TV shows,” Dollahan said. “Disney Plus is also creating more spin-offs that will only be available on that service.”

As of Sept. 30, Netflix was over $12 billion in debt, and plans to spend billions more to cover content budgets; they spent $15 billion on original programming in 2019.

Netflix still leads in number of users, with 159 million active accounts. Hulu has 28 million users, and HBO Now has 8 million.

On Nov. 13, Netflix announced a deal with Nickelodeon to create original animated content for the platform, including a “SpongeBob SquarePants” spinoff series. Children’s programming has become a competitive area as Disney Plus markets itself as a streaming service for the family.

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