While Netflix recently acquired the rights to stream Friends at a cost close to $500k an episode, no such bounty will be paid for Seinfeld anytime soon.
At least not by Netflix.
The WSJ is reporting that Sony is in serious conversations with major streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Instant Video about the exclusive rights to stream a show about nothing. This would certainly be a blockbuster deal, and we’re confident in spreading a rumor that it would no doubt be the most expensive “per episode” deal of all modern streaming technology. Sony is purportedly asking for over $100 million for rights to the show (about $550K per episode).
With Netflix reportedly out of the running, Hulu, Yahoo and Amazon are all making a run for the marquee show, as Seinfeld streaming instantly would certainly bring in a massive amount of new users to the winner of the deal. Whether or not that deal would be worth $100M might be a bit more ambiguous, but with the different services openly expressing interest, it could be possible to create some sort of content bidding war, something that perhaps Netflix wants nothing to do with until it sees ROI from its Friends purchase.
Our hefty bet is on Amazon as the most likely to win this deal, with their extremely deep pockets and the tie-in to Prime subscriptions, one of Amazon’s key market products. But it wouldn’t surprise us to see another service take a swing for the fences to get their name in the conversation with other heavy hitting services. For example, Yahoo’s recent purchase of the rights to Community show they’re serious about competing, so it would make sense for them to grab Seinfeld for both the users as well as a great PR opportunity for their advances into modern streaming television.
We’re a little disappointed Netflix wasn’t the first to grab Seinfeld for instant streaming, because it does tend to be the first app we open to stream content, but we are excited to see more competition in the streaming media industry.
Wild speculation time: I’m guessing the Friends acquisition hasn’t shown as much ROI as Netflix had originally hoped, resulting in them balking at the chance at Seinfeld; certainly where Sony went first. This is based on zero commentary from anyone on either side of this deal, but thinking about their reasoning logically, this is my assumption. I always try to keep wild speculations to a minimum, but I can’t shake the gut feeling on this one.