A Post about Nothing

29 Apr

Will it Suck is focused on movies, and telling you if movies, will in fact, suck. But we are all huge fans of Seinfeld, so we felt compelled to share some thoughts on a big piece of news regarding the greatest sitcom.

It was announced today that Hulu won the rights to stream the entire Seinfeld catalog. Before the deal, this was one of the biggest holes in the collective streaming catalogs of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, et al. So, on the face this is a great deal.

Amazon Hulu Netflix

But what is the goal of Hulu in making this splash? In theory they are hoping to 1) reward current subscribers with a show that many of them likely want, and 2) attract new customers. Is this a viable strategy to win subscribers? In the short-term, yes, it appears that companies believe so, as is evidenced by Amazon’s decision to pursue HBO’s catalog. But in the long term it remains to be seen if new subscribers will stay signed up once they have gotten their fill of Seinfeld. Netflix, on the other hand, was never in the bidding for Seinfeld rights. Instead, Netflix has taken the strategy of creating original programming (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Marvel’s Daredevil, and many others).

What could be the big risk in Hulu’s Seinfeld gambit is that reruns of the show are ubiquitous on basic cable and local channels, while Sony was demanding huge sums for the show’s streaming rights. Industry analysts said that Sony could have asked around $500,000 per episode. There are 180 30-minute episodes of the show.

So, $500,000 x 180 episodes = $90,000,000!!!!

That is absolutely enormous. The HBO/Amazon deal is reportedly in the neighborhood of $100 million spread out over several years.

So, the question is, how many people will subscribe at $7.99/month now that Seinfeld is available On-Demand? For me, it seems much easier to just set my DVR to record all episodes of Seinfeld on any channel. As George Costanza said “It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?”

George Costanza

I would be willing to bet that I would have the entire series recorded in just a few months. Unless you have completely “cut the cable”, it just doesn’t make sense that you would pay $96 a year just because of Seinfeld.

Then again, I did pay to own each season on DVD, so maybe I am just the pot calling the kettle black…

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