December 31, 2019 12:53 p.m. Pacific Time
Owners of the rights to some of the most popular television series in 2019 decided to make a lot of money, as media companies spent huge amounts on licensing properties that would ultimately help their streaming services stand out.
First, there was the “Office”, the backbone of the Netflix library, which NBCUniversal committed to paying $ 500 million in June for streaming rights (it will be hosted by Peacock in 2021). Just a few weeks later, WarnerMedia won the rights to Friends, another Netflix product, for a whopping $ 425 million (Friends will be available on HBO Max in 2020).
In September and October, three more major deals were announced that cemented 2019 as the year of the nine-digit streaming rights agreement.
Netflix has signed a $ 500 million deal to pick up Seinfeld from Hulu for five years. To further increase the upcoming HBO Max, WarnerMedia has allocated about $ 600 million for rights to the Big Bang Theory and more than $ 500 million for streaming rights to South Park.
Although these transaction prices may seem exorbitant, the value of popular licensed television shows for the streaming library should not be underestimated.
When U.S. respondents were asked about their favorite Netflix shows, 48 of the 100 most-cited titles were acquired and 46 were originals, according to a October 2019 MoffettNathanson report. For Prime Video, 51 were purchased, and a total of 20 originals.
It is not surprising that stream managers are willing to put large amounts of their budgets on licensing agreements, and this survey data hinted that there are even more nine-digit transactions on the horizon. Stay tuned for successful episodes, including The Walking Dead and Grey’s Anatomy, which will be among the shows that will attract bidders in 2020.
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