The Office: How Much NBCUniversal Is Paying To Keep The Sitcom Off Netflix

jim dwight and michael the office branch wars

When it comes to Netflix, the service's new original shows are arguably the biggest topics of conversation from week to week. However, it's inarguable that Netflix's biggest strengths as a content provider lie in its lucrative licensing deals for extremely popular comedies like The Office, Friends and more. So when NBCUniversal announced on June 25 that it's pulling The Office off of Netflix in 2021, fans understandably freaked out with a full meme arsenal.

Also worth some mild hysteria is the amount of money that NBCUniversal is dropping on The Office in order to make it an exclusive for the upcoming NBCU streaming service. It's reported that after an auction of sorts took place, NBCUniversal won the bid to welcome The Office and all the Dunder-Mifflin employees back into the network fold in the future. And to do so, it's paying the pretty penny of $100 million per year for the next five years.

NBCU execs have not exactly hidden their intentions on reattaining The Office to boost interests in its own upcoming streaming service. There's a lot of room to cover, however, between just saying something like that and actually doing it, considering the situation is a lot more complicated than just a quick, "Can we have The Office back?"

Universal TV reportedly put on an auction situation for The Office, according to THR, in which NBC's streaming service execs went head to head with those from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and possibly Apple. It's stated that the Universal team purposefully distanced themselves from all buys in order to negotiate the best deal possible for profit participants. In the end, NBCU won out, having put a total of $500 million in contention.

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Of course, the decision-making also wasn't just solely concerned with how much money was being put into keeping The Office wholly within the NBCU umbrella. It also meant having to deny the millions of dollars that would have come from other licensing deals. Should that overall plan secure NBC some instant subscription growth, they'll look like geniuses. If not, though...

At least one media analyst thinks it would be wise for NBCU to keep The Office on Netflix in the earliest days of the upcoming streaming service. That way, the producers would get to keep bringing constant money in while also building up their subscriber base by other means. It seems like that kind of forward-thinking was in mind whenever that whole Friends debacle got cleared up by Netflix paying a ton of money to keep it for another year.

Considering the deal between Universal TV and NBCU was only for five years, is it possible that The Office could return to Netflix in some capacity in the future? Will streaming services still exist in the same way they do now? Will The Office have already come back for a reunion special or revival season? And when will The Big Bang Theory’s streaming future start to take over all the conversations now that the CBS monster hit is done?

For now, The Office will remain streaming on Netflix for at least the next 18 months and then some, although that could possibly change in any number of ways. Make your summer a Dundie-worthy season.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.