Can you build a streaming service around one show?

The Office is the most popular streaming show on the internet. Can it help Peacock compete with the Netflixes of the world?


January 15, 2021

Judging by how NBCUniversal is leveraging The Office for its streaming service, Peacock… the answer is yes. After years on Netflix, the uber popular sitcom’s rights just reverted back to NBC, and the network’s been milking its crown jewel like nobody’s business.

To wit: Peacock — which had 26m subscribers at end-2020 — restructured its pricing page based on how much of The Office you can watch… 

It may seem crazy, but here’s why it’s genius

According to Rob Litterst — a Hustle contributor and writer of the business strategy newsletter Good Better Best — Peacock is unbundling The Office to drive acquisition and monetization using 2 tactics:

  • Offering a freemium plan that includes the first 2 seasons 
  • Introducing bonus footage, including exclusive superfan episodes with new content 

The perfect Freemium plan

By making 2 of its 9 seasons free, Peacock hopes to build momentum for new viewers (and the rest of us who can’t get enough of Jim and Dwight’s pranks).

This plan is particularly genius given that the last free episode has one of the best cliffhangers (DO NOT CLICK IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN) in TV history.

Content for superfans, too 

Upgrading to Peacock Premium ($5/mo) unlocks the entire series, along with more exclusive footage and curated content, including cold opens, bloopers, and “best of” for each character.

This gives old content a fresh look and allows fans to re-engage with the show from different angles, even if they’ve watched the series end-to-end 15 times (looking at you, Miss Eilish…).

What does this mean for the streaming biz?

Expect other streaming services to parrot this approach with their own popular titles. For instance, Kendall Ostrow, head of client strategy at United Talent, suggested HBO Max roll out a similar playbook for Friends, Gossip Girl, and Sex and the City. As Michael Scott always said:

 

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The Office Fact of the Day

This is Ricky Gervais dancing in the UK version of The Office, which the US version was based on. We are putting this here out of respect and not wanting to hear people tell us how “you know, the British version is way better.” (Source: Giphy)

The Office isn’t just popular… it’s the most popular streaming show on the internet, period.

According to data from Nielsen, The Office racked up 57B (billion) minutes in 2020, ~50% more than the second-ranked series:

  1. The Office (minutes streamed = 57B)
  2. Grey’s Anatomy (39B)
  3. Criminal Minds (35B)
  4. NCIS (28B)
  5. Schitt’s Creek (24B)

INSANE!

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