Seinfeld will be streaming to houses across America soon, but Netflix has passed on grabbing up the series, presumably deciding that the cost would not be worth it to the company in the long run. The right to stream Seinfeld will go to whoever the highest bidder is, with initial reports suggesting it could go for over $500,000 per episode.
Considering that there are 180 episodes, the bidding for Seinfeld could end up with the streaming service which buys the rights to stream the series paying anywhere from $90 million to $100 million. That is a steep price, one which Netflix apparently believed was too high, as Seinfeld can still be seen elsewhere in syndication and on YouTube.
In 2013, according to Tablet, Seinfeld “had its syndication re-upped for the FIFTH time.” Tablet figured out, using information from Slate, that each episode of Seinfeld in 2013 would be worth $17 million per episode. If that truly was the case, then Netflix might have passed on a deal which potentially could have made them quite a bit of money, despite the high cost.
Three of the prospective buyers of the rights to stream Seinfeld, according to the Wall Street Journal, are Yahoo, Amazon, and Hulu. A deal is reportedly going to be announced within weeks, with one of these streaming services purchasing the rights.
The cost, alone, was apparently not the deciding factor that caused Netflix to pass on buying the right to stream Seinfeld. In 2014, Netflix bought the right to stream Friends from Warner Brothers and dished out over $500,000 per episode. Sony is asking for even more for the right to stream Seinfeld, but money, alone, was not what caused Netflix to pass. The fact that Seinfeld could be seen elsewhere, like on TBS and local stations, was another factor.
Though Netflix remains the big dog in the streaming industry, other companies are seeking to compete against the giant by purchasing the right to stream popular series and attract potential viewers away from Netflix. For example, Hulu recently purchased the right to stream reruns of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation from CBS, and Amazon, in 2014, made a deal with HBO for the rights to stream Girls and The Sopranos.
Yahoo purchased the rights from NBC to stream episodes of Community, and to produce and air new episodes of the series. Buying Seinfeld would certainly elevate Yahoo’s status as a streaming service if the company becomes the successful bidder.
Though Sony owns the distribution rights for Seinfeld, a large percentage of the revenue will go to Warner Brothers, which took over Castle Rock Entertainment, the company that produced Seinfeld, when it bought Turner Broadcasting System in 1996.
Both Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the co-creators of Seinfeld, also are profit participants. They will stand to benefit handsomely from whatever deal is eventually struck, as well.
Seinfeld will be streaming into houses across America in the near future, though Netflix passed on the deal. In the long run, whatever arrangement is struck could prove to be very profitable for all of the parties concerned, though Seinfeld‘s still being shown in syndication was likely a factor that caused Netflix to drop out of the bidding process that is still ongoing. That leaves Yahoo, Hulu, and Amazon still in the negotiations. Whichever streaming company eventually buys the right to stream the series is successful, the publicity, alone, that will be generated from the deal will likely benefit the successful bidder.
Written By Douglas Cobb