Brow Beat

Netflix Acquires Rights to Stream Seinfeld After Losing Friends and The Office

In a dressing room, Jerry Seinfeld wears a white shirt with puffed sleeves and frills on the front with Michael Richards standing behind him.
NBC

A whole lot of nothing is heading to Netflix in 2021: The company announced Monday that it has picked up the worldwide rights to stream Seinfeld. According to the Los Angeles Times, Netflix will retain the rights for five years.

This marks something of a coup for Netflix, which reportedly outbid Hulu, Amazon, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, and Viacom for the rights, though the dollar amount has not yet been made public. Netflix is losing the domestic rights to two other beloved, long-running NBC sitcoms over the next two years: Friends will move to WarnerMedia’s new streaming platform in 2020, while NBC has reclaimed The Office for its new service in 2021. One hundred eighty episodes of Seinfeld should at least soften the blow for Netflix subscribers.

Seinfeld has been available to stream on Hulu in the U.S. since 2015 after a deal that reportedly cost somewhere between $130 million and $180 million. (Amazon owns the rights internationally.) CNBC, citing an anonymous source “familiar with the terms” of the Hulu deal, says that Seinfeld accounts for less than 1 percent of Hulu’s total viewership. Compare that with The Office, which Netflix’s 56.6 million subscribers spent 52 billion minutes streaming on TV sets alone (not computers, phones, or other devices) in 2018, according to Nielsen. The same metric found that subscribers watched 32.6 billion minutes of Friends.