Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses Netflix and the State of the Streaming Wars
It was not all that long ago that the television entertainment industry was primarily centered around the so-called “Big Three.” The national networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC battled for ratings, while cable networks did the same but on a smaller scale with more niche offerings. Fox came along in the mid-1980s and became a major player beginning in 1994. While the network wars might feel like ancient history, they have never really gone away—they have simply shifted to a new battleground.
As a business law attorney, I recognize the ways in which technology can affect a business model of a single company or an entire industry. With that in mind, it has been a very interesting transition from the realm of television broadcasts and syndication to the new reality of streaming services. Perhaps nothing demonstrates this quite as clearly as the ongoing fight over the hit show The Office.
One Show Leads All Others
Near the end of 2018, reports were released that showed that a large portion of viewership on the streaming service Netflix was focused a relatively few titles. According to these reports, the top 50 titles—including television series and movies—accounted for nearly 42 percent of Netflix viewership by minutes streamed in the United States. The American version of The Office, in fact, was found to be solely responsible for over 7 percent of Netflix minutes streamed. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider that Netflix offers more than 5,000 titles at any given time, including some 1,500 TV series.
In recent years, Netflix has made a concerted effort to produce more original programming. The move has been moderately successful, as evidenced by the viewership of shows like Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, and a number of original movies and documentaries. The focus on original programming seems especially smart as other streaming services have begun vying for exclusive streaming rights for valuable shows such as The Office.
NBCUniversal Reclaims Rights to “The Office”
Earlier this week, NBC announced that it will have “exclusive domestic streaming rights” covering all nine seasons of The Office—which originally aired on NBC networks—beginning in January 2021. The move is intended to boost the popularity of the new NBCUniversal streaming service that is expected to launch next year. The show prompted about 52 billion minutes for Netflix in 2018, a trend that NBC executives hope will continue on their new platform.
Netflix acknowledged the change in licensing on its official Twitter account. The company tweeted, “We’re sad that NBC has decided to take The Office back for its own streaming platform – but members can binge watch the show to their heart’ content ad-free on Netflix until January 2021.” If past numbers are any indication, millions of Netflix subscribers will probably do just that.
A Naperville Business Lawyer Can Help With Licensing Concerns
While the ongoing “streaming wars” are about competing for viewers, licensing rights are the most common weapons being used. If you have questions about how licensing rights might help your company, contact an experienced DuPage County business law attorney. Call the Gierach Law Firm at 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation today.