‘Seinfeld’ Streaming Deal Could Top $100 Million


Seinfeld” is the latest vintage TV series poised to generate renewed syndication profits through an SVOD sale.

Sony Pictures TV, which handles distribution of the Castle Rock TV-produced sitcom, is in the process of shopping the rights to digital buyers, with Hulu and Amazon said to be among the suitors. The NBC hit has had limited exposure online through airings on Sony’s Crackle, which is ad supported and only has a handful of episodes available at any given time.

The Wall Street Journal noted Friday that Sony is aiming for the “Seinfeld” sale price to top the estimated $500,000 per episode that Netflix paid last year for rights to another NBC comedy classic, “Friends.” Details on the sale are still sketchy but it is expected to be the entire library of 172 episodes, which ran on NBC from 1989 through 1998.

“Seinfeld” hit the SVOD auction block just after CBS concluded a surprisingly rich deal with Hulu for the rights to past and future seasons of “CSI.” That deal coupled with Netflix’s purchase of “Friends” has spurred Hollywood’s majors to more aggressively shop shows that are outside the serialized drama milieu that has driven the growth of Netflix and other SVOD players.

“Seinfeld” was a major hit for local TV stations in the late 1990s after the show bowed in traditional Monday-Friday syndication. The show was so successful that a few years later, TV stations wound up paying more to renew the rerun rights than they did in the first round of dealmaking.

The show also set a then-record for an off-network comedy sale to cable in a $1 million per episode deal with TBS, where “Seinfeld” reruns have been a mainstay since 2002.

By some estimates, “Seinfeld” has generated as much as $3 billion in syndication revenue since 1995. Warner Bros., which acquired Castle Rock as part of its 1996 Turner Broadcasting System acquisition,  reaps most of the rewards, but Sony Pictures TV has claimed a good chunk of the “Seinfeld” windfall through a distribution deal that the studio cut with Castle Rock prior to Time Warner-TBS merger.

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  1. Adam Cameron says:

    I feel it to be a travesty that, after 25 years, early Seinfeld episodes have not entered the public domain.

  2. Romanhy Correa says:

    The entire Seinfeld library consists of 180 episodes, not 172.

  3. Marty Gillis says:

    To Castle Rock: PLEASE release this series on Blu Ray disc and PLEASE give us a choice between 4:3 and 16:9 versions. ( Many will opt for the 4:3, including myself) Right now, the picture quality from the current DVDs outshine anything I have seen on TBS HD (pumping out “HD Lite”) and I have no plans to ‘stream’ Seinfeld with even worse resolution. WE WANT & NEED Seinfeld on BLU RAY! Please ???

  4. No wonder Amazon was trying to unload the complete series DVD’s last week at $69 dollars a pop.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    There’s only one problem with this that I am seeing. Almost all of us fans, already have everything on DVD, the only reason we still watch it on TV is because it’s easier to do. Paying for these services, when we already have the full bug is not a good business move IMO. And now I think i’ll go watch an episode that barely ever gets aired, but is always on my DVD collection.

    • milo says:

      Even though they have sold plenty of DVDs, there are vastly more people out there who like the show but don’t own them. Of course streaming isn’t intended for you in this particular case but for the huge number of other people.

      I have stopped buying discs of TV shows for the most part, and very happy about it since streaming has so much content I want to watch…but only once.

    • Greg says:

      Exactly. To me, it’s like a favorite album: you’ve got it on CD, and now they want you to buy the 8-track.

  6. Sal Rastegar says:

    Now that’s something and amazingly about Nothing? FANTASITC!

  7. Paul Brno says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Jerry Seinfeld & Larry David are almost Billionaires. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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