Netflix pays huge amount for Seinfeld
Netflix just forked out "far more" than $730 million to buy the streaming rights to Seinfeld … not that there's anything wrong with that.
After losing popular shows Friends and The Office to rivals, streaming giant Netflix has inked an exclusive deal for "a show about nothing" staring comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his band of misfit friends, Netflix said.
"All 180 episodes of the Emmy-Award winning Seinfeld are coming to Netflix - worldwide! - starting in 2021," Netflix tweeted alongside a photo of the famous cast jumping around Seinfeld's imaginary NYC apartment.
Netflix didn't disclose how much it paid for the five-year deal, but is said to have paid "far more" than the $730 million NBCUniversal paid for The Office, and the $621 million WarnerMedia shelled out for Friends, the Los Angeles Times said, citing anonymous sources.
The move comes as Netflix, long the master of the streaming domain, faces an uptick in competition from emerging rivals including AT&T's WarnerMedia, Disney and Apple - all of which are poised to flood the market with new streaming services starting this year.
Netflix and its existing rivals, like Hulu and Amazon, have invested in original content to attract subscribers - but most of the top 20 shows streamed on Netflix in the US last year were old-school hits like The Office, Friends, Grey's Anatomy and NCIS, according to recent content ratings data from Nielsen.
Seinfeld can currently be streamed on Stan in Australia. In the US, Hulu, which is majority owned by Disney, currently holds the streaming rights to Seinfeld through to June 2021.
Hulu bought the rights from Sony Pictures Television, which controls distribution of the show, in 2015 for six years for a little over $190 million, according to a source close to Hulu.
But the show's cult-like following didn't pay off for Hulu, which found that Seinfeld accounted for less than 1 per cent of its overall viewership, sources said.
That didn't stop Netflix from trying to get Seinfeld in the vault. It bested bids from Hulu, Amazon, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and Viacom, which controls the CBS All Access streaming service since its merger with CBS Corp., according to The LA Times.
The proceeds of the deal will be divvied up among several entities, including WarnerMedia, CBS, Jerry Seinfeld and his co-creator, Larry David - all of whom will share in the revenue after Sony takes its cut as the show's distributor, The LA Times said.
This article originally appeared on The New York Post and was reproduced with permission