8 TV Shows Netflix Paid For A Fortune To Stream

Netflix began its operations as a video rental company before stepping into the online streaming platform service. With the development in technology, streaming services slowly became mainstream. Today, Netflix is one of the 100 Most Valuable companies globally, with a $150.10 billion market cap. The service has created original television series and movies and acquired rights to some of the most popular television series that can be binged for hours.

Some of the most popular shows are open to streaming on online platforms as they offer a guaranteed viewership. Netflix paid multi-million dollars for the streaming rights, and here are some of its most expensive deals.

8 Seinfeld (1989-1998)

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Seinfeld was the most popular show of its time in the United States and a television series that was a masterclass in comedy created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. While it is big in the home country, it hasn’t impacted the global viewers yet. As mentioned by Vanity Fair, in 2019, Netflix and Sony announced an exclusive five-year $500 million deal to acquire Seinfeld’s streaming rights so it could reach a wider audience and boost overall sales.

7 Frasier (1993-2004)

While not many television spin-offs become popular, Frasier is one of those unique sitcoms that amassed a similar level of popularity as Cheers. Netflix did not get its first-hand rights, but it was a part of the short-term non-exclusive deal between the OTT Platform and CBS. The agreement made for $200 million ensured that the platform could show a collection of programs from the CBS Network, and the list also included Frasier.

6 Friends (1994-2004)

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Friends has a strong fanbase that actively binges the series even twenty-eight years after it has ended. With a new generation of fans generating through OTT Platforms, Netflix acquired the streaming rights to the show in 2015 for a whopping $100 million, as reported by Forbes. It was second-most-watched on Netflix, and reports suggest that people watched 32 million minutes of Friends until HBO Max acquired the rights in 2020. 

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5 New Girl (2011-2018)

A comedy sitcom with a lot of heart, New Girl, tells a story of how a group of misfits come together to navigate life and relationships. The excellent ensemble cast and the deeply relatable stories have been the show’s strengths. After it became a hit on Fox, Netflix inked a deal with the network to buy its streaming rights for $900,000 per episode.

4 The Blacklist (2013- Present)

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While other streaming services offer joint syndication deals, Netflix has always preferred to get exclusive streaming rights. The Blacklist, a thriller series starring James Spader and Megan Boone, was acquired by Netflix from NBC and Sony for a whopping $2 million per episode in 2014, as stated by Deadline. The deal was said to be the biggest per-episode payout in the history of OTT streaming. With the exclusive first window, Netflix was the only platform that first aired it.

3 The Walking Dead (2010-2022)

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A zombie drama that has unexpectedly become one of the most popular television shows, The Walking Dead has captured the audiences’ attention as the thriller plot. Netflix went all out when acquiring it and struck a multi-year deal for a whopping $1.35 million per episode, adding to $25 million.

2 The Office (2005-2013)

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The beloved mockumentary, The Office, is one of the most-binged and streamed television series. The workplace setting starring the comedic genius of Steve Carell and supporting actors like John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Rainn Wilson has made it delightful for audiences around the world. As mentioned by the Wall Street Journal, Netflix had paid $100 million for the multi-year deal for its streaming rights, which ended in 2020. It was the most-streaming show on Netflix, and people watched a whopping 52 billion minutes of it in 2020.

1 Scrubs (2001-2010)

A heartfelt comedy-drama, Scrubs was the perfect combination of a stellar cast and smart writing, making it one of the most-watched on television. A strong percentage of the audience enjoys watching medical dramas. Netflix acquired the rights for Scrubs on a $26 million per year deal from its original network NBC.

Other notable non-Netflix series on Netflix include Lost, Jane The Virgin, and Zoo. With several television networks introducing their streaming platforms, the competition to air fan-favorite sitcoms is slowly heating up in the OTT arena. Netflix remains one of the most-favorite streaming services and continues to add new-old television shows to its platform for the audience.

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Sources: Vanity Fair, Forbes, Deadline, Wall Street Journal

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