Netflix nabbed the global streaming rights to "Seinfeld" this week in a deal reportedly worth hundreds of millions.
It's a huge get for the streaming giant, which will be losing three of its most popular TV shows by the end of next year: "Friends," "The Office," and "Parks and Recreation."
But it's not necessarily a huge loss for Hulu, where the hit 1990s sitcom is currently streaming domestically until 2021, at which point it will head over to Netflix.
Data provided to Business Insider by analytics company Jumpshot shows that "Seinfeld" has been viewed 3.17 million times on Hulu so far this year (on desktop devices in the US), which is significantly lower than Hulu's most-watched series, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which has been viewed 17.1 million times through August.
"Seinfeld" didn't even crack the top 10 of Hulu's most popular shows this year:
- "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" — 17.1 million views
- "Bob's Burgers" — 11.8 million
- "Family Guy" — 9.35 million
- "The Handmaid's Tale" — 8.6 million
- "South Park" — 7.03 million
- "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" — 6.2 million
- "Rick and Morty" — 6.04 million
- "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" — 5.3 million
- "American Dad!" — 5.26 million
- "King of the Hill" — 5.07 million
While the Jumpshot data is limited to desktop devices, it still gives a sense of the relative popularity of the show and suggests it likely wasn't a big enough hit on Hulu to bid more than $500 million for.
Netflix's global "Seinfeld" deal with Sony Pictures Television — which is for six years beginning in 2021 — is worth more than the $500 million NBCUniversal is paying for "The Office" and the $425 million WarnerMedia is paying for "Friends," according to The Los Angeles Times. Hulu's own six-year deal, which it struck in 2015, was worth $130 million.
"Seinfeld" will stream worldwide on Netflix and was only available domestically on Hulu, which raises its price tag (it currently streams in some international markets on Amazon Prime Video). But Netflix can also afford to drop that much money compared to Hulu, especially if it wants to retain its status as streaming champion.
As venture capitalist and former Amazon Studios executive Matthew Ball tweeted this week, a nine-figure deal is "a lot easier to stomach" when Netflix has over 150 million subscribers worldwide and 60 million in the US, as opposed to Hulu's 28 million US subscribers.
The void left by "Friends," "The Office," and "Parks and Recreation" when they leave Netflix will be tough to fill, but perhaps "Seinfeld" can find a larger audience than it did on Hulu among Netflix's millions of worldwide subscribers.