Looking Back: 2004 — Double-Digit Gains Fuel DVD Mania

DVD was launched in 1997, but its peak year didn’t come until 2004, when sales targets were routinely broken, and studio executives were ecstatic over yet another year of double-digit growth. TV DVD alone was bringing in an estimated $4 billion in sales, prompting Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to hold gala parties in New York and Washington, D.C., to celebrate the DVD success of “Seinfeld” (and the induction of the iconic “puffy shirt” into the Smithsonian). While all eyes were on disc sales, Netflix had quietly resurrected the rental business with its subscription DVD-by-mail service, although few believed founder Reed Hastings when he said disc rentals would soon be replaced by movies streamed over the internet. (Photos courtesy of the Media Play News archive)

Netflix Set to Stream ‘Seinfeld’ Reruns Beginning Oct. 1

Netflix will begin streaming perennial consumer favorite catalog series “Seinfeld” beginning Oct. 1. The former NBC primetime phenomenon has streamed on Hulu for the past six years. Netflix acquired five years of “Seinfeld” rights in a deal reportedly worth $500 million with show producer Sony Pictures Television.

The 180-episode series should plug the gaping hole Netflix suffered when ratings king “The Office” moved to NBCUniversal’s Peacock.

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“Seinfeld,” which exited primetime TV in 1998 after nine seasons, moves to syndication on ViacomCBS carriage stations in October.

Netflix Begins Exclusive ‘Seinfeld’ Streaming Access Later This Year

Netflix is getting one of the more popular (and lucrative) sitcoms beginning later this year with exclusive streaming access to former NBC hit “Seinfeld.” As part of its April 2021 distribution agreement with Sony Pictures, Netflix secured the rights to the 1990s series that made Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louise-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and co-creator Larry David household names.

“Seinfeld” previously streamed exclusively on Hulu as part of the platform’s six-year license agreement hammered out in 2015 for a reported $190 million.

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“Seinfeld” on Netflix is a big deal for the streamer after it was dealt double blows with the departure of “Friends” to HBO Max and “The Office” to Peacock. Series creator Warner Bros. Television opted to license the content in-house as part of WarnerMedia’s high-profile marketing around the launch of Max.

At the time both “Friends” and “The Office” ranked near the top of Nielsen’s most-popular streamed catalog shows on household televisions.

Netflix hasn’t blinked on Nielsen as the legacy rating service’s weekly Top 10 of licensed TV shows stream on the SVOD pioneer’s platform.

WarnerMedia Readying ‘Friends’ Pop-Up Retail Store

WarnerMedia Aug. 2 began selling tickets to a “Friends”-themed pop-up retail/promotion store running Sept. 7 to Oct. 6 in Manhattan, N.Y.

Created by Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Warner Bros. Television Group and Superfly — the latter responsible for “The Seinfeld Experience” store operating through February 2020 in New York — the concept targets consumer interest in TV nostalgia, memorabilia and show artifacts surrounding the 25th anniversary of the “Friends” sitcom debut Sept. 22, 1994, on NBC.

The situation comedy about six friends in their 20s and early 30s living in New York City starred an ensemble cast that included Courtney Cox and then-unknowns Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer. It aired in primetime until May 6, 2004.

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Located in the heart of Manhattan’s SoHo district, the ticketholder entrance will be at 76 Mercer St. (between Spring & Broome), and the retail store entrance will be at 503 Broadway. Store hours are seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fans can reserve a time slot to visit with a ticket purchase priced at $29.50.

“The fascination and universal appeal of the TV series lives on with fans of all ages,” Peter van Roden, SVP, Global Themed Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, said in a statement. “As we celebrate the show’s milestone anniversary, we are excited to bring the ‘Friends’ experience to life for our fans in a way that pays homage to the remarkable cast of characters, iconic sets and instantly quotable moments.”