Netflix Secures 'Seinfeld' Streaming Rights Globally, Beating Out Major Competitors

Netflix has lost mega-hit shows like The Office and Friends from its streaming library, but it just gained a beloved show about nothing.

The streaming giant has locked down the global streaming rights to Seinfeld for five years, giving Netflix a win after it suffered some notable losses to competing streaming services. Get the details of the Seinfeld Netflix deal below.

Earlier this summer, we wrote about how the streaming rights for Seinfeld, the acclaimed comedy starring Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards, would be up for grabs as soon as its current deal with Hulu expired at the end of 2020. Now The Los Angeles Times reports that a Seinfeld Netflix deal has been reached, and all 180 episodes of the show will be available on Netflix for five years starting in 2021 – and it'll be available in 4K for the first time ever.

"Seinfeld is a one-of-a-kind, iconic, culture-defining show," Sony Pictures Television Chairman Mike Hopkins told the Times. "Now, 30 years after its premiere, Seinfeld remains center stage. We're thrilled to be partnering with Netflix to bring this beloved series to current fans and new audiences around the globe." In a statement, Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos said, "Seinfeld is the television comedy that all television comedy is measured against. It is as fresh and funny as ever and will be available to the world in 4K for the first time."

Streaming services have realized that despite their billions of dollars spent on original programming, older comedy series like these have been some of the biggest and most reliable hits for audiences on their platforms. NBCUniversal recently paid $500 million for the streaming rights to The Office and HBO Max paid $425 million for the rights to Friends, but there's an important distinction between those deals and this one: those companies only own the domestic streaming rights to those shows, while this Seinfeld pact gives Netflix the streaming rights to the series on a global scale. Because of its larger scope, the Times reports that the cost of this deal was "far more" than the other companies paid; unfortunately, details about the exact cost of the deal have not been disclosed.

Hulu, Amazon, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, and Viacom (which owns CBS All Access) all bid for Seinfeld's streaming rights, but Netflix came out on top. This is a particularly bad beat for NBCUniversal, which could have used Seinfeld as a main draw for subscribers when it launches its upcoming streaming service sometime next year. (Seinfeld aired on NBC for its entire original run from 1989-1998.)

The fact that the show will be streamable in 4K is interesting, too. Here's a video about how the series was originally filmed and how a 4K transfer is possible for a series that initially aired in 4:3 aspect ratio.