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Netflix Reportedly Pays More Than £400 Million for Seinfeld, but It's Missing Hulu's Killer Feature

By Catie Keck on at

Netflix announced this week that it’s managed to nab all 180 episodes of Seinfeld from streaming rival Hulu, adding that the series will be coming to the platform globally beginning in 2021. Unfortunately for Seinfeld fans, however, Netflix is missing one of Hulu’s best features for streaming the series.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Netflix paid “far more than the $500 million [£400m] NBCUniversal paid for The Office, and the $425 million [£342m] WarnerMedia shelled out for Friends” for the five-year contract (though specific figures were not formally disclosed by Netflix or Sony Pictures Television, which owns the show’s streaming distribution rights).

The news comes as Netflix braces for losing both Friends and The Office, two of its most popular series in 2018. Netflix was “particularly aggressive” in its attempts to box out other streaming services for rights to the show, the Times reported, beating out rival bidders that included Hulu, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal, among others. A spokesperson for the company did not immediately return a request for comment about the deal.

Great as this news may be for Netflix, cord-cutters with both services may see their Seinfeld-streaming experience degraded by the platform shift. Currently, the Seinfeld page on Hulu serves users a feature on the landing page to help navigate the show’s nearly 200 episodes. Nearly a dozen series-specific tags help filter Seinfeld episodes by popularity, breakup-related episodes, and episodes with a crime theme, among others. There’s even a Beginner’s Guide.

These are not features that are currently available for some of Netflix’s own binge-worthy classics. But with Netflix constantly overhauling its platform to add more user-specific features – like the recently added Latest tab to surface new, upcoming, and trending content on a dedicated page rather than on the homepage, where it may otherwise be overlooked or missed – it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility that a feature similar to Hulu’s could surface on the platform.

So, who knows! Netflix still has plenty of time to steal this feature in the year and a half, at least, before Seinfeld officially lands on the platform.