Streaming giant Netflix said on Monday it had acquired the global rights to popular American sitcom Seinfeld from 2021—a feather in its cap as the battle among online video platforms for coveted content heats up.
The company did not reveal the value of the transaction. But the move was a bit of a rebound for Netflix, which has lost the rights to Friends from next year and to the American version of The Office from 2021—the two most-watched series it has on offer.
The digital broadcast rights to Seinfeld have been held by Hulu, a Disney subsidiary, since 2015. NBCUniversal paid $500 million over five years to get The Office, and WarnerMedia shelled out $425 million, also over five years, to acquire Friends for its new HBO Max platform.
Classic television series have become a hot commodity in the escalating battle for streaming supremacy. The current major players like Netflix and Amazon are keeping an eye on Apple and Disney, which will launch later this year, and then NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia in 2020.
Sony Pictures Television, which controls the distribution of Seinfeld, launched its own platform, PlayStation Vue, but it never really took off.
Beyond The Office and Friends, Netflix is also soon to lose the rights to the catalog of Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel superhero films, which belong to Disney.