Hulu, Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) In A Bidding War for Seinfeld
Three big companies are engaged in a bidding war to acquire Sony Pictures Television’s Seinfeld, which could become a master of the Internet domain. Hulu, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) were engaged in discussions to reach an understanding with Sony Pictures Television. Any agreement could allow reruns of the 1990’s hit to an online video service. The latest reports suggest that a deal is in the cards in the next few weeks.
Of the three bidders: Hulu, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), it remains to be seen who will emerge as the winner with the rights to the classic NBC sitcom. Sony Pictures manages the distribution for Seinfeld, as well as Warner Brothers, presently. Any agreement with any of the three companies would also enable Sony to reap significant profits. It owns the production firm of Seinfeld, Castle Rock Entertainment. Incidentally, Sony’s own streaming service, Crackle, already provides a small number of episodes of Seinfeld though not the full series.
Currently, Sony is seeking $500,000, or more, per episode. The entire series has about 180 episodes. Therefore, at the price of $500,000, the deal is likely to be valued at approximately $90 million. Reports indicate that the fee might be higher, considering that the series has been available on DVD for more than a decade.
Streaming companies appear to believe that the demand for the 1990’s episodes still exists, and that they would be able to generate revenue. Reports pointed out the recent purchase of a complete series of Friends by Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX). Though there does not appear to be any confirmation of the price, reports suggested that there was a demand for $500,000 per episode there as well.
For quite some time, Seinfeld has been aired in HD. Therefore, there would not likely to be any extra work to be done from the technology point of view. It will be interesting to see how far these three companies, Hulu, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), will stretch themselves in their bid to win.
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