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Why Netflix Losing “The Office” Might Actually Matter

By Motley Fool Staff – Jun 28, 2019 at 8:39PM

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Yes, the video-streaming giant has more shows than any person could possibly watch. But even so...

The value proposition of a Netflix (NFLX -0.27%) subscription is pretty simple: The service has a ridiculous amount of content to suit virtually every taste whether your preferences run to Stranger Things or The Crown, Ozark or a bunch of silly Adam Sandler comedies. And we don't need to tell you that the megasmorgasbord approach works for them.

But all of the options mentioned above are Netflix originals, and as Market Foolery host Mac Greer and senior analyst Ron Gross discuss in this segment of the podcast, there's likely a significant number of subscribers who use the service most heavily to watch reruns of their old favorites -- like The Office. So the news that NBC outbid Netflix for the rights to that extraordinarily popular show and will be pulling it from the streamer in 2021 ought to get investors' attention. How many television classics can Netflix lose before it starts to feel a pinch?

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on June 26, 2019.

Mac Greer: Ron, our final story, Netflix. Let's talk some Netflix. At the time of our taping, shares are actually up slightly. That was a bit of a surprise because of news coming out that NBC is pulling its hit show The Office from Netflix when that deal ends at the start of 2021. Now, interesting to see how this played out. The Office is produced by Universal Television. They held an auction. NBC bid $100 million per year for five years, edging out Netflix. Now, maybe they had a bit of an inside track. We were talking about that. Regardless, The Office, leaving Netflix in 2021. What do you think?

Ron Gross: I think it's a big deal in and of itself, but the bigger deal is, is this going to continue to happen? Is Friends next, for example? I think the answer is probably yes. Lots of folks watch Netflix for the repeats of their favorite shows, not necessarily original content. You and I were discussing earlier before the show. If they're going to lose just a few key hit shows, I would imagine that's going to be a serious hit to their value proposition.

Greer: Yeah, you mentioned that. It's a little tough to get at this because Netflix guards their data, but I've always had this Stranger Things theory of the case, that we would subscribe to Netflix if Stranger Things was the only show they had. Now, the question is, do most people fit into that? Or are most people using Netflix to watch archived shows like The Office? I guess we're going to find out.

Gross: I guess. It may be based on demographics. I think younger folks like to watch the repeats of their favorite shows. Maybe old fogies like us enjoy the original content. I'm just making that up. But perhaps that's how it divides, based on demographics. But clearly, if you're going to charge a fee and continue to want to raise that monthly fee, like Netflix likes to do here and there, you have to have the content, you have to put the right content forth. It's going to be a combination of their own, as well as other people's favorite shows.

Mac Greer owns shares of Netflix. Ron Gross has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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