I appeared into two must-read articles from Chris Stokel Walker last week:
Last Friday I wrote about how it seems as if the “half-life” of older library titles like “The Office” and “Seinfeld” has been accelerated by changing market dynamics.
As coincidence would have it, last Thursday Recode’s Peter Kafka interviewed B.J. Novak - who starred as Ryan Howard in “The Office - on the Recode Media podcast. I had a moment to listen to the podcast this weekend. At about 32 minutes in, Kafka asks him if he could feel the difference after “The Office” left Netflix, if the show now feels “less popular?”
“I thought it would feel less popular but the weird thing is, when I ask teenagers who say “We love The Office!”, I say “Do you watch it on Peacock?” and more often I hear “No we watch it on YouTube.” And people will watch highlight reels of it and consider that the show.”
Novak also tells the story of a teenager at a children’s hospital he was visiting who was excited to meet him, and when he asked her what her favorite episode of “The Office” was, he recalls she responded: ”’Well I really know you from the memes… ‘ and she meant it. I was from ‘The you writing in the notepad meme, and ‘The you rolling your eyes meme’… she knows it from memes”.
In other words, without YouTube, teenagers would have never found “The Office”. This reflects an emerging problem for media companies who have assigned extraordinary value to the ownership of IP libraries for streaming: The value of IP is fragmenting across platforms, new generations “consume their art by algorithm”, and YouTube’s algorithm seems to drive the most impactful engagement with audiences, new and old.
That would imply NBCUniversal’s five-year, $500MM investment in “The Office” in 2020 was an extraordinary, Curse of the Mogul-type misread of the marketplace that has rewarded more value to the show’s profit participants than to Comcast shareholders. At a time when Netflix is struggling to build a library of Disney-like intellectual property (IP), one has to wonder: does the success of "The Office" post-Netflix suggest that, in order to extract the maximum value from owned IP, streaming companies *need* a PARQOR Hypothesis-type ecosystem?
Peacock shares its data with Nielsen, but “The Office” has gone from Nielsen’s most streamed show in the U.S. in 2020 (57.1MM minutes stream) to no appearances on that list in the year-and-a-half since moving to Peacock in 2021.
Comcast reported in its earnings call that ...