It finally happened. The Sizable Streaming Switch, as we’ll recount it to our grandchildren (we become fond of alliteration in our old age), involved that perennial Netflix fave The Office heading on home to the NBC-owned streaming service Peacock. While this move comes with some bonuses for loyal Dunder-Mifflin employees — like never-before-seen footage getting dropped in your laps — the deal definitely favors Peacock’s fortunes. They need to do what they can to play with the big, established dogs of streaming, including the aforementioned Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and HBO Max (which recently made their own splashy deal by throwing all of Warner Bros.’ 2021 film slate on the service). What better way to do so than to grab one of the most streamed shows, one that inarguably gave Netflix its titanic status?
And, well, Peacock seems to know the crown Dundie they’ve got in their hand, and they’re playing it for all it’s worth. Case in point: Their new pricing services, from free to premium to, um, premium plus, sure seem to be explicitly based on how much of The Office each one lets you watch. Take a look:
This is… craven! Granted, we already knew we wouldn’t be able to watch all of The Office on just the free plan, but to see this layed out so barely and so explicitly tracked to “the drug that you want called The Office” feels icky. And not just to me; to the other excellent pieces of Peacock programming delegated to “also get access to every movie, TV show, Premium sport & more” in the official pricing description after all this praise is exalted upon The Office!
Now, to be fair, Netflix and these other streaming services tout their original series all over the place in their interfaces and marketing materials. But their pricing plans don’t, for example, say “you can watch Stranger Things Season 1 at this point, and the rest of the Stranger Things story for 10 dollars more”. Also, The Office is not a Peacock original; it’s an acquisition of a show originally broadcast on, well, broadcast television.
I understand that Peacock needs to play hardball (that’s what she said) to get Office lovers in their streaming service in droves. I just hope next time they can be a little less grossly explicit about their using the material to their advantage. Even Ryan Howard would know that’s too much (well, maybe not blond hair-era Ryan Howard, only available on Peacock Premium Plus Ultra Special Alpha).
Doug Liman’s new movie stars Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
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