Netflix and Sony Pictures Television confirmed on Monday that they had reached a streaming exclusivity deal for one of the hottest TV series in the world: Seinfeld†
Starting in 2021, Netflix will be the exclusive online streaming home for the series around the world. This will bump into current online distributors Hulu (US) and Amazon (most other streamed regions). Hulu’s previous five-year deal for the series’ domestic streaming rights to the series was somewhere between $160 million and $180 million per year. This new Netflix deal is likely to bring in more money based solely on international reach, but Sony, Netflix or Castle Rock Entertainment have not disclosed terms.
The LA Times reported that Netflix has announced full support for 4K resolution for Seinfeld’s Netflix run, a first for the series. It remains to be seen how this upscaling will be handled – whether we can expect to see the original grain-filled video recreated like on some of the best UHD Blu-rays on the market or whether we’ll see significant digital tweaks instead. . (Anyway, we wonder if Kramer will apply his ingenuity to this 4Kisation, similar to his work on tie dispensers and masculine lingerie.)
The same report also claims that Netflix surpassed a huge field of streaming competitors for Seinfeld’s global streaming rights: NBCUniversal, CBS All Access, AT&T TimeWarner, Hulu and Amazon. Notably missing from that list: Apple TV+ and Disney+, each of which has paved their own paths for the service’s launch in November 2019.
The news comes as Netflix faces stiffer competition in the nostalgic TV industry. AT&T Time Warner is pushing full steam ahead in 2020 with its HBO Max product, and the service made headlines in July when it announced the 90s sitcom would friends, which is currently streaming on Netflix, is set to head to HBO Max at launch. This was followed by the huge HBO Max deal struck with BBC America in August to exclusively include series like Dr. Who, Luther and Top Gear perform.