To say The Office is now streaming on Peacock is an understatement. From the 1st. On January 1st, the office anchors Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service that launched last summer, with neither applause nor ridicule. With a free tier and solid back catalog, Peacock isn’t a billion dollar punch line like Quibi, the most gratifying late capitalism collapse since MoviePass. But without a marquee original like The Mandalorian or a dominant parent company, Peacock wasn’t a strategy-shifting success like Disney, another relative newcomer to the arms race that Netflix started more than half a decade ago.
The landing of The Office, which has been expected since the sitcom announced its exit from Netflix more than a year and a half ago, is an attempt to shape things. On Netflix, the show’s transformation into an emblem of the streaming era was accidental. It became a makeshift bridge between the time The Office actually aired and the time platforms like Netflix started funding their own originals, while emergency shows were being returned to their original rights holders.
At Peacock, The Office is a conscious centerpiece. Start the service on your TV and you will be presented with three separate prompts to watch The Office before running into an original show like A.. P. . Organic or even a licensed title like Jurassic Park. Of course there is the nine seasons version of Jane. But there are also « superfan episodes » with extended cuts from the 23 episodes of the third season. (Further seasons will be extended from March. ) And then there is the portal to « The Office Collection », a comprehensive compilation of Office clips and episodes, sorted into every imaginable category: Cold Opens; Best of Dwight; Guest stars; The story of Jim & Pam; Favorite episodes of the actors; Behind the scenes footage.
But that’s not all! There is an entire « channel », Peacock’s curious feature that simulates the live television experience and is dedicated to The Office 24/7 and joins a similar one for Saturday Night Live. Instead of full episodes in a loop, the office’s channel features ambient footage of a crossword puzzle, desktop sand garden, and other trivia recorded by ringing phones and the hum of an industrial air conditioner. Aptly named « The Office Zen, » the channel is designed to recreate « the sights and sounds of an office for anyone who works at home, » according to Peacock’s press letter. Like many publicity gimmicks developed by marketing departments rather than actual television writers, the station seems to miss the point of The Office so deeply that it could be a joke about The Office: you may not be able to access human interaction and camaraderie that can lead to thoughtless cabin work almost worthwhile, but you can still have the annoying noise and visual monotony! Thanks to the good people in corporate later.
However, scroll down far enough on the collections page and you will find a game that is both meaningful and more promising. After reading clips from the show’s final table and a sampler curated by Kate Flannery, you’ll find smooth transitions from The Office. A list entitled “On the Job” contains direct descendants of Office such as Parks and Recreation and Superstore, but also more versatile tips such as House and Below Deck. « The Office Alums on the Silver Screen » features John Krasinski’s Away We Go and Angela Kinsey’s All-Stars. And the cast not only choose their favorite episodes of their own show, but also highlight what’s on offer elsewhere on Peacock. Apparently, Oscar Nunez is a fan of Ray Donovan.
NBCUniversal paid half a billion dollars for this: The office not only as a stand-alone sensation, but as the basis for a whole new company. Peacock missed the 2020 Olympics, which was supposed to be a major promotional link for the service, and then had to wait a few months for The Office to migrate from his former home. After the eagle finally lands, we can see how Peacock intends to use it – as bait for subscribers, who can then be tricked into finding out what else the service has to offer. The office is so important to Peacock’s Endgame that the platform, which is being marketed endlessly as free (albeit with limitations), has put it behind a paywall. Only the first two seasons of ads will be available to subscribers outside of Peacock’s premium tiers.
As of last month, Peacock had collected 26 million signups, a number that the arrival of The Office is likely to increase. That’s more than twice as much as HBO Max, Peacock’s closest analog with similar strengths and weaknesses. Like Peacock, Max has a number of popular mainstays like Friends, The Big Bang Theory and, more recently, The West Wing and Gossip Girl. It also took Max a while to establish himself by signing deals with key distributors like Roku and introducing high profile features. (The flight attendant, Max’s liveliest original to date, has been pushed from summer to winter due to pandemic delays. ) Max went out of his way to get existing HBO subscribers to use something they already paid for, and Peacock has his own problems: 26 million is a big number, but it looks a bit low when you consider that Peacock’s entry-level option requires nothing more than an email – and Premium is technically included for free if you’re already a Comcast customer.
So the office is Peacock’s breakthrough asset. It’s easy to be skeptical of how much a streaming service can rely on just one show. (Did Netflix become so successful because it had The Office, or did The Office gain a second life because it was on a platform with a head start?) Peacock essentially sells a DVD box set with extra features, but none the security of physical device ownership and with a monthly subscription fee instead of a one-time transaction. Most importantly, at one point, the office was nearly 3 percent of the total U from Netflix. S.. . Consider a stunning figure considering how much Netflix has in its collection.
Six months later, Peacock hasn’t adjusted to complete the volume on Netflix. The biggest success story to date is probably Saved by the Bell’s surprisingly good reboot, though even that felt more like a catnip for jaded critics than a popular sensation. Instead, Peacock has a quiet foundation of low-key staples, along with the most low-key not-so-secret weapon there is. It’s ironic that an aesthetically monotonous workhorse like The Office is becoming the hottest asset in a new, technology-driven landscape. His debut on Peacock takes that irony to a new extreme. Welcome to the future when a cable entertainment conglomerate’s hopes rest on a fictional paper company in northeast Pennsylvania.
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