Seinfeld is finally coming to Netflix in 2021 - and Netflix paid a big price to get the gang onboard. In the current battle of streaming services, it’s not so much who has the biggest archive but who has the most popular titles in its library. TV shows like Friends, The Office, and Seinfeld are among the most popular, but they can’t be found on the same streaming service.
Seinfeld is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms of all time, often listed as the best series of the ‘90s. The show was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, and followed a fictionalized version of Seinfeld and his daily life in Manhattan, along with his friends George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). The series ran from 1989 to 1998 and made its way to the world of streaming in 2015 thanks to Hulu. In September 2019, Netflix announced the acquisition of the streaming rights for Seinfeld, and the price was very high.
Netflix reportedly paid over $500 million for the global streaming rights to Seinfeld. The company recently lost the streaming rights to two of its most popular series: The Office and Friends, which are now with NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia, respectively. NBCUniversal paid $500 million for The Office and WarnerMedia got Friends for $425 million, though these deals only cover streaming in the United States. Netflix, however, will be able to stream Seinfeld globally, and with the other two big comedy shows out of its catalogue, the platform needed a big title that would make users stay – and what better than Seinfeld.
Hulu had been Seinfeld’s home since 2015 thanks to a six-year, $130 million deal, with all nine seasons available and Amazon holding the streaming rights in most foreign territories. The deal will be up in 2021, and that’s when Netflix will add it to its service. Although Netflix still has a big number of films and TV shows, including original content, the departure of Friends and The Office was a big shake-up, and acquiring Seinfeld was a necessary move that the company was surely ready to make no matter the price.
It’s unlikely that the most popular sitcoms of the last three decades will be available for streaming on the same platform, and with subscription services like Disney+ and Apple TV+ coming up soon, the battle for the streaming rights of many other films and TV shows will continue for years. For now, Seinfeld fans can continue enjoying the series on Hulu before it jumps to Netflix in 2021.