The Simpsons will soon be available for streaming online, and viewers have a $1 billion syndication deal to thank for it.
The long-running cartoon sitcom reached a syndication deal that is believed to top $1 billion, which analysts say could be the richest syndication deal in television history.
The deal ensured that the show stayed in the family. The Simpsons is owned by 21st Century Fox, and this week the studio reached a deal with the network that broadcasts the show, Fox, and the cable network FXX, for cable and streaming rights to the show’s more than 500 episodes.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but television insiders said bidding for the show was quickly approaching the $1 billion range. After the sale was announced, analysts estimated that the show was sold for between $1 million and $2 million per episode, putting the total sale somewhere between $550 million and $1 billion.
Keeping The Simpsons in the Fox family was important, said Jonn Landgraf, CEO for FX Networks. He said the deal maintains the network family’s strength with the key young demographic.
“The Simpsons bolsters FXX’s lineup of comedies, including the animated series Archer, aimed at younger viewers. FXX is also developing animated shows Bigfoot, from actor Seth Rogen, and Chozen by comedian Danny McBride,” he said. “Every Simpsons episode will eventually be available to subscribers on the FX Now app over the Web and on mobile devices.”
Analysts also praised the deal.
“We see the move as an important step to helping buttress the new FXX network,” wrote Daniel Salmon, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets Corp. “The Simpsons helps build the schedule, which should boost ad revenue once the show begins airing.”
The Simpsons is in its 25th season and has aired 533 episodes since the show premiered on December 17, 1989.