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Hulu Nabs 'Seinfeld'

Subscription video on demand service Hulu has acquired Seinfeld from Sony Pictures Television at an estimated price of $700,000 per episode, according to sources. The deal will be announced at Hulu’s upfront presentation Wednesday morning in New York City.

With 180 episodes available, that brings the deal's tally to approximately $126 million, although that’s a relatively small number compared to the more than $3 billion Seinfeld already has earned since it entered syndication in 1995.

Amazon and Yahoo also were in the running for the show, according to The Wall Street Journal. Netflix dropped out of the bidding last year, and went on to buy Friends from Warner Bros. at approximately $500,000 an episode. That was the first deal that indicated that off-network sitcoms could find a new and real revenue stream with the upstart streaming services.

Seinfeld was produced by Castle Rock Entertainment, which is now owned by Time Warner, and is distributed by Sony Pictures Television. Jerry Seinfeld, who starred in the show and co-created it with Larry David are both large profit participants, and have reportedly each earned $400 million off the show's proceeds. 

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.