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Brief Published: 29 Jan 2021

NBC Livens Up Re-Runs with Relevant Ad Formats

American sitcom The Office has a new home on NBCUniversal-owned US streaming platform Peacock, where superfans and newcomers are enticed with bonus material and custom advertising formats.

With 57 billion minutes of watchtime, the show that originally aired from 2005 to 2013 became the most popular show in streaming in 2020 (Nielsen, 2020). NBCUniversal’s president of advertising sales and partnerships Laura Molen called Peacock’s $500m acquisition of the show’s streaming rights a move “designed to embrace Office superfans”. The broadcaster is extending that embrace with tailor-made advertising formats.

This is the first time the show has streamed with advertising, so Peacock was keen not to sully the viewing experience. Paul Lieberstein, an executive producer and writer on the series, created advertising stories that emulate the show’s mockumentary workplace format for the pandemic working-from-home era. US insurance provider State Farm’s ads chronicle home renovation gone wrong, while content for Unilever-owned Axe body spray deals with the frustrations of family members turned co-workers. State Farm is also sponsoring The Office trivia questions that appear whenever viewers pause the content.

These ad formats make the first two seasons free to watch, but the rest of the series is only available to paying subscribers. To sweeten that deal, previously unreleased deleted scenes and extended cuts have been added to the re-offering of the show. According to NBCUniversal, Peacock has received 26 million sign-ups since debuting in July 2020.

We’ve previously reported on Peacock’s ambitions to update the ad break into an experience that is more closely related to the content consumers show up for – expect similar concepts to be rolled out across Peacock’s library. For more, see Pop Culture Pulse: Surviving the Streaming Wars.