‘Seinfeld’ is moving from Hulu to Netflix in 2021, what did it cost?

Seinfeld has been on Hulu since 2015, in a deal that reportedly cost Hulu more than $150 million. This week, it was revealed that the show is packing up and moving networks in 2021. Netflix has inked a 5-year deal to stream the show, which is a boon for the platform, as it’s losing both Friends next year and The Office in 2021:

“Seinfeld,” one of the most popular sitcoms in TV history, is heading to Netflix (NFLX) starting in 2021, the streaming company announced on Monday.

Netflix will be the exclusive global streaming home to the sitcom. The financial terms of the deal, which Netflix struck with distributor Sony Pictures Television, were not disclosed. The deal lasts five years.

Licensed content like “Seinfeld” has become a major weapon in the streaming wars. Legacy media companies like Disney (DIS) and WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, are pulling some of their most beloved shows from Netflix in an effort to draw subscribers to their own streaming services.

Nabbing the rights to “Seinfeld” is a big boost for Netflix, which has suffered the losses of two popular licensed shows in “Friends” and “The Office” in recent months. The company announced in June that “The Office” would be leaving Netflix for NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service in 2021. WarnerMedia announced in July that “Friends” would be exclusive to its HBO Max service starting next year.

[From CNN]

So just how much did Netflix shell out for the exclusive rights to stream the iconic “show about nothing”? That hasn’t been disclosed, but the L.A. Times said that it was a hefty sum:

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but 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 about $130 million in a six-year deal that expires in 2021. Amazon had the streaming rights in most of the foreign territories that will be picked up by Netflix.

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.

“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.”

[From the L.A. Times]

I’m amazed, looking at the numbers for The Office and Friends, that Netflix got away with paying “only” $130 million for the entire run of Seinfeld for six years. I also realized that I have no way to completely grasp just how much money that is, beyond knowing that it’s “a lot.” I’m already thinking about what the next streaming network (or Netflix) will pay for the show in 2026. Needless to say, if you are a Seinfeld fan who only has a subscription to Hulu, make sure to watch it while you still can!




Photos credit: LFI/Photoshot via Avalon.red

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22 Responses to “‘Seinfeld’ is moving from Hulu to Netflix in 2021, what did it cost?”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I guess what I don’t get about these kinds of deals – is anyone going to cancel hulu and join Netflix “just” because of Seinfeld? If someone loves it that much, I’m going to assume they will just buy a few seasons or their favorite episodes or whatever. These types of deals must increase their subscribers, or else why do it, but the money is kind of mind-boggling to me.

    • Kebbie says:

      Are there people that have Hulu but not Netflix? I know there are people with just Netflix, but I can’t imagine having Hulu and not Netflix.

      • Ann says:

        I only pay for hulu but I use my mom’s Netflix account too. I switched to hulu because I wanted to watch Bob’s Burgers and 90210. The day I switched they also added King of the Hill, which was such a nice surprise.

        I’m not loving all these acquisitions from all the various media companies. We’re going to get to the point where all the streaming services are going to be a la carte and it’ll end up costing as much as cable. AND there will be commercials. I’m sure of it. This is the golden age of streaming. Disney and NBC and all the others are bound to ruin it.

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      All I know is that I can see it on “regular” tv if I still want to… and my Netflix bill will most likely go up *again* to pay for all this. Blech.

    • Yes Doubtful says:

      I don’t think it’s about gaining new viewers, it’s more about KEEPING viewers. The industry is going to become saturated with paid streaming services and Netflix wants a solid catalog.

  2. Kebbie says:

    Isn’t NBC starting its own streaming service? I assumed Friends, the Office, and Seinfeld would all exclusively stream with the NBC Universal service.

  3. Enn says:

    I personally feel that Seinfeld has not aged well and don’t get the nostalgia, let alone the racist issues with what’s his name who played Kramer.

  4. SarSte says:

    This is interesting. I know Seinfeld is popular, but wonder if it can really be considered a replacement for The Office and/or Friends? I feel like the Netflix binge-ing of those two shows is more of a thing among Millennials (particularly with younger Millennial that weren’t watching it when it initially aired) and Gen Zs who are just discovering the shows. I wonder if it will really fill the void? Anecdotal, but my little sister (27 y/o) constantly watches and re-watches Friends/The Office – she would never watch Seinfeld. I never “got” Seinfeld, I was probably too young, but I’ve never felt like it had the feeling good warmth of a show like The Office, which I think is a driving reason why people binge it.

    • aang says:

      Seinfeld definitely does not have the warmth of The Office. Every character is a walking PSA on how not to act. I remember an interview with Jason Alexander (George) saying that when people tell him they love George he immediately thinks that there must be something wrong with them. But I think it is one of the funniest sitcoms in existence. The humor might be generational.

      • Sara says:

        I don’t find Friends or the Office funny. I love Seinfeld. Maybe because it’s drier and more cynical?

      • Becks1 says:

        One of the things I like about Seinfeld – that I think makes it less “binge-able” – is that its more episodic. Yes, some jokes carry over, but you can turn on a random episode and still laugh or feel awkward or whatever and still get the story line without needing to know what season its from. Other sitcoms are harder to do that.

      • aang says:

        Sara may I ask your general age? I’m gen x and I think Seinfeld plays to my generational sensibilities.

  5. Megbot2000 says:

    I’ve been watching the whole thing on Amazon Prime. It’s very funny but many episodes are quite shocking in their handling of women, gay people and race issues. You know that Buzzfeed article about how Friends doesn’t stand the test of time because it had fat jokes and isn’t “woke” enough? Seinfeld had way more stuff that would really not fly today.

    • aang says:

      On Seinfeld we laugh AT the awful main characters. On Friends I feel like we are meant to laugh WITH relatable characters as they make fun of marginalized groups.

  6. Cee says:

    Didn’t Netflix fork over $100M for Friends just this year? And they’re losing streaming rights in 2021? This seems absurd – too much money for a short period of time.

    • Juls says:

      And where does the money go? Do the actors, directors, producers get residuals from this? How much of this cash is going into Bannon’s pocket?

  7. Fluffy Princess says:

    Don’t care. I never got the big deal about this show. It was amusing at times, but nothing great.

  8. Yes Doubtful says:

    I’m excited! I watched the reruns on crackle, but then they stopped airing them earlier this year. The show is quite dated, but the overall comedy is still pretty funny. Netflix needs to do more of this to stay afloat. How about The Golden Girls? OG 90210? Bring LOST back! Mike/Molly, Big Bang Theory…

    • Juls says:

      Not sure about the others, but Lost is on Hulu. We just binged it with our teenagers and they LOVED it. Until the bizarre ending anyways.

  9. Nancypants says:

    I haven’t watched Seinfeld in years and years….and years but I was around for the first round and liked it. We lived in the woods near Fairbanks, Alaska and couldn’t get cable, so, Seinfeld was a big deal.

    Now, I watch Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee starring Jerry Seinfeld.
    I think I’ve watched them all but it seems almost like a curse to the people who star with him.
    Many died shortly after appearing.
    Now, I know some of them were older than God but some weren’t and Julia Louis Dreyfuss got cancer right after appearing on that show.

    Well, I’m still going to watch it and drink my latte and maybe have scrambled eggs (they do that a lot) or a pastrami sandwich.
    It’s fun and funny and I don’t get the big deal about the cost of Netflix.
    It’s free if you have T-Mobile for your phone and it was $12. per month otherwise and it went up about $2.
    I think it’s worth it and they have a lot of specials you can’t get elsewhere.

  10. Ferdinand says:

    In Latin America we get Seinfeld on Prime !