9:35am PT by Rick Porter, Lesley Goldberg
Netflix Lands 'Seinfeld' Rights in $500M-Plus Deal After Losing 'Friends' and 'The Office'
Seinfeld is set to be master of a new domain starting in 2021.
Netflix has landed worldwide rights to the iconic sitcom in a five-year deal with distributor Sony. The show will move from current rightsholder Hulu when its deal is up in 2021. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the new Seinfeld streaming pact is worth more than $500 million and covers global rights. By comparison, The Office and Friends moved to NBC's streaming platform and HBO Max, respectively, for similar valuations that only covered domestic. The deal, sources stress, was competitive, with Netflix beating out rich offers from the likes of Amazon, NBC's streamer, HBO Max, Hulu and CBS All Access.
Netflix and Sony declined comment on financials.
The acquisition of Seinfeld for the streamer comes after Netflix lost rights to two other classic NBC comedies: Friends, which is moving to WarnerMedia's HBO Max in 2020, and The Office, which will be part of Comcast's streaming platform starting in 2021.
First reported by the Los Angeles Times, the deal will bring Seinfeld's global streaming rights under one roof for the first time. Hulu's current six-year, $130 million pact is for domestic rights only; Amazon has held rights in most other territories around the world.
The lucrative deals for Friends and The Office also only cover domestic streaming rights. Terms of the Netflix-Sony deal weren't disclosed.
"Seinfeld is the television comedy that all television comedy is measured against," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said Monday in a statement. "It is as fresh and funny as ever, and will be available to the world in 4K for the first time. We can’t wait to welcome Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer to their new global home on Netflix."
Added Sony Pictures Television chairman Mike Hopkins, "Seinfeld is a one-of-a-kind, iconic, culture-defining show. 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."
Netflix is also home to Jerry Seinfeld's shortform series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and his stand-up special Jerry Before Seinfeld.
Acquired series like Seinfeld, Friends and The Office are huge drivers of usage on streaming platforms. Nielsen consumption data for 2018 said Netflix users in the U.S. watched about 85 billion minutes of The Office and Friends — the equivalent of about 25 hours for every Netflix subscriber in the country.
Sept. 16, 11:45 a.m. This story initially misstated the annual fee Hulu pays Sony for Seinfeld.