The Landscape of Streaming TV is Changing be prepared to Pay More


The most watched show on US Netflix, by a huge margin, is the US version of The Office. Even though the platform pumps out an absurd amount of original programming – 1,500 hours last year – it turns out that everyone just wants to watch a decade-old sitcom. One report last year said that The Office accounts for 7% of all US Netflix viewing.

So, naturally, NBC wants it back. This week, it was announced that Netflix had failed to secure the rights to The Office beyond January 2021. The good news is that it will still be available to watch elsewhere. The bad news is that “elsewhere”, means “the new NBCUniversal streaming platform”.

As a viewer, you are right to feel queasy. The industry-disrupting success of Netflix means that everybody wants a slice of the pie. Right now, things are just about manageable – if you have a TV license, a Netflix subscription, an Amazon subscription, and a Now TV subscription, you are pretty much covered – but things are about to take a turn for the worse.

In November, Disney will launch Disney+, a streaming platform that will not only block off an enormous amount of existing content (Disney films, ABC shows, Marvel and Pixar films, Lucasfilm, The Simpsons and everything else made by 20th Century Fox), but will also offer a range of new scripted Marvel shows that will directly inform the narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Essentially, if you want to understand anything that happens in any Marvel film from this point onwards, you’ll need to splash out on a Disney+ subscription, promising new work from Sofia Coppola, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Brie Larson, Damien Chazelle and Steven Spielberg. In the next three years, Apple will spend $4.2bn on original programming, and you won’t get to see any of it if you don’t pay a monthly premium.

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