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Netflix acquires the global streaming rights to 'Seinfeld'

Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Netflix has fired back in the battle for popular network sitcoms by landing the global streaming rights to "Seinfeld."

The deal struck with Sony Pictures Television, which controls the distribution of "Seinfeld," will be announced Monday, according to the companies.

Netflix will offer all 180 episodes of "Seinfeld" in the U.S. and to its 151 million subscribers throughout the world when the five-year pact takes effect in 2021.

"'Seinfeld' is a one-of-a-kind, iconic, culture-defining show," Sony Pictures Television Chairman Mike Hopkins said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. "Now, 30 years after its premiere, 'Seinfeld' remains center stage. We're thrilled to be partnering with Netflix to bring this beloved series to current fans and new audiences around the globe."

Landing "Seinfeld" is a major comeback statement for Netflix, which recently lost the streaming rights to "The Office" and "Friends" to the media conglomerates that own those shows. "The Office" will be part of NBCUniversal's new streaming service, while "Friends" will be offered on WarnerMedia's upcoming HBO Max platform.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but since the rights are for worldwide distribution, Netflix paid far more than the $500 million NBCUniversal paid for "The Office," and the $425 million WarnerMedia shelled out for "Friends," people familiar with the deal said. Both of those five-year deals were for streaming rights in the U.S. only.

 

Hulu, which is majority owned by Walt Disney Co., has the current domestic streaming rights to "Seinfeld," paying $150 million annually in a five-year deal that expires in 2021. Amazon had the streaming rights in most of the foreign territories that will be picked up by Netfilx.

"Seinfeld is the television comedy that all television comedy is measured against," Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said in a statement. "It is as fresh and funny as ever and will be available to the world in 4K for the first time."

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For the next five-year licensing period, Netflix topped bids from Hulu, Amazon, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and Viacom, which controls the CBS All Access streaming service since its merger with CBS Corp., according to people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to comment.

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