And that begs the question: What’s more important to a streamer: original or acquired programming?
Reelgood, a discovery/guide platform for streaming TV content, says the share of streams for “The Office” rose to a 9.2% share of the top 100 most-watched streaming TV shows in its first week of the year on the new platform. This was more than three times higher than in December, when the show grabbed just under a 3% share on Netflix.
Overall for 2020, “The Office” was the most watched streaming show in the U.S., according to Nielsen -- with 57 billion minutes streamed from a library of 192 episodes. The next-biggest show was “Grey’s Anatomy,” (366 episodes) also on Netflix, with an estimated 39.4 billion minutes streamed. Another Netflix show, “Criminal Minds’ (277 episodes), had 35.4 billion minutes.
By way of comparison, Netflix’s “Ozark” -- an original show -- had the most streaming minutes for an streaming original TV series -- 30.4 billion. Netflix’s “Lucifer” was next at 18.9 billion.
Digging deeper, there might be some trends here -- acquired programming on average seemed to perform better than original fare.
Some of this makes sense: There was a proven performance from the former TV outlet, and much in the way of built-in promotion.
This isn’t to say that syndication didn’t have any original TV show winners in the late 1980s/early '90s -- “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” among others. But it was “The Cosby Show,” “Cheers” and others that gave TV distributors and TV stations steady advertising revenue to grow the market.
Much has changed in our streaming world -- including, but not limited to, the explosion of available TV shows virtually everywhere on multiple platforms. Some of this leveled the playing field.
In part, this is why acquired, recognizable TV content for viewers will continue to be a good bet.
Even then, TV shows usually find their own basic performing levels. After its initial big week on Peacock, “The Office” dropped to lower, more recent Netflix-like levels, earning 3% share of total streams among the top 100 streamed shows.