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Seinfeld Nears Streaming Video Deal, Yada Yada Yada

Seinfeld Nears Streaming Video Deal Yada Yada Yada CMO Today WSJ


Among the bidders chasing the rights to the “show about nothing” are Hulu, Amazon and Yahoo. The deal could fetch a price well north of half a million dollars per episode, the people said. There are 180 Seinfeld episodes.

Netflix, which last year took a hard look at “Seinfeld,” is taking a pass on the show, a person familiar with the matter said.

Reruns of “Seinfeld have been on local TV stations and the cable channel TBS for years, but the buyers believe it has potential to continue that run for another several years on the Web. There, it could hold appeal for a generation of cord-cutters who can’t catch Seinfeld episodes on cable, and will allow users to search for their favorite episodes on-demand.

Landing the online video rights could elevate the stature of Hulu, Amazon and Yahoo, all of whom are in the large shadow of Netflix.

When Netflix acquired “Friends” last year from Warner Bros., it paid more than $500,000 per-episode, a person with knowledge of the deal said. Sony is seeking a higher price than what Warner Bros. received for “Friends.”

The price will depend, in part, on the length of the deal. The “Friends” agreement with Netflix runs for four years, which may be too short for some of the “Seinfeld” bidders. One suitor said a price tag higher than “Friends” doesn’t make sense if the contract is for less than ten years.

An agreement with an online video service would not mean the end of “Seinfeld” repeats on other outlets. “Friends” remains in heavy rotation on TBS even though Netflix has the rights and does not have commercials. Despite the addition of “Friends” to Netflix, ratings for the reruns on TBS have held steady.

Both Hulu and Amazon have been aggressive in acquiring content as they compete against Netflix. Hulu, which is owned by Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp. and 21st Century Fox, recently bought reruns of the long-running CBS hit “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Amazon struck a deal with HBO last year for rights to many of its shows including “The Sopranos” and “Girls.”

Yahoo has been less active on the acquisition front, but has recently been making deals in an effort to make a splash. Besides an agreement with TV news personality Katie Couric, it also is buying new episodes of the cult hit “Community” that is produced by Sony and used to air on NBC.

Sony has long held distribution rights for “Seinfeld,” but the majority of the revenue from a sale will go to Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., which acquired “Seinfeld” producer Castle Rock Entertainment as part of its 1996 purchase of Turner Broadcasting System.

“Seinfeld” creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are also profit participants in the show, which Warner Bros. said in 2010 had generated $2.7 billion in syndication revenue.

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$2.7 BILLION in syndication revenue?!

Wow, content really IS king.

I wonder why Netflix passed.

They must not be getting the value out of Friends that they thought they would.

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