Due to the fight for broadcast rights, the streaming war has reached stratospheric levels. In the past few days, Netflix, Warner and NBC Universal have reportedly invested at least $ 2.4 billion in just four TV series. What draws the most attention is the fact that the most recent of them debuted in 2007.
With 279 episodes, The Big Bang Theory will be available on HBO Max, Warner’s future streaming service. The company would have invested more than $ 1 billion to obtain the rights to broadcast the series for five years, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Previously, Warner agreed to pay $ 425 million over five years to regain exclusivity on the 236 episodes of Friends. The sitcom was in the Netflix catalog, which in 2018 paid $ 100 million to offer it to its users in 2019.
With the imminent loss of Friends, Netflix purchased the five-year Seinfeld for $ 500 million. Comcast, for its part, paid the same $ 500 million to maintain The Office for five years on Peacock, NBC Universal’s future streaming service.
The high amounts paid to old series – Seinfeld completed 30 years in 2019 – raise doubts about the criteria used for companies to reach such agreements. And, in addition, to calculate what return the productions will give you.
As the Washington Post, the platforms do not seem to be very sure about how to assess whether a production was purchased at the ideal value. This makes old series much more expensive all of a sudden.
Seinfeld, for example, was purchased by cable channel TBS in 1998 for $ 200 million and by Hulu in 2015 for $ 160 million. Now Netflix agrees to pay three times as much for the series. The details of the deal have not been revealed, it is true, but the increase is quite considerable.
At the same time, Netflix invests in deals for new series of producers like Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy and Kenya Barris. Warner, for its part, joins JJ Abrams. None of the negotiations cost less than $ 100 million.
Apple seems to be the only one that does not intend to invest in old productions. The company even tried to obtain the rights to Friends in 2018, but withdrew its proposal. Disney also did not make a deal for broadcast rights, but it will give great prominence to its own classic productions.