Pretty soon you'll be able to binge watch Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer. Seinfeld is close to joining a major streaming service, according to The Wall Street Journal. The only question is which one it'll be. Hulu, Amazon, and Yahoo are said to be vying for rights for the classic NBC sitcom. Sony Pictures Television currently handles distribution for Seinfeld, and Warner Bros. also stands to profit tremendously from any deal that's struck; it owns Seinfeld's production company, Castle Rock Entertainment. (Crackle, Sony's own streaming service, already offers a small number of Seinfeld episodes, but not the whole series.)
Festivus isn't going to come cheap
A deal is expected to be finalized within the next few weeks, and the Journal says Sony is looking for $500,000 per episode or more. That would value reruns of the entire series — which contains 180 episodes — at around $90 million. It sounds like an astronomical fee for a series that's been on DVD for over a decade, but streaming companies are paying big for '90s nostalgia. Netflix recently brought the complete Friends series to its viewers, a deal that the Journal says demanded $500,000 per episode. But apparently Reed Hastings and Co. are sitting out the Seinfeld bidding war and are content to let someone else pour money into bringing you on-demand access to "The Puffy Shirt" and "The Junior Mint."
Seinfeld, which is among the kings of syndicated TV, has been airing in HD for some time now. So from a technological standpoint, there's little work to be done in the transition to streaming. In July of last year, Jerry Seinfeld confirmed that talks to bring all of Seinfeld to a streaming service were "presently taking place." At that time, Netflix was likely still in the fold; the Journal says it gave the beloved show about nothing "a hard look" before apparently backing off and opting to spend its money elsewhere.