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Streaming Services' Syndication Money for TV Classics

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in I Love Lucy

Photograph by Everett Collection

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in I Love Lucy

Streaming-video services such as Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon Prime (AMZN) once looked like mortal threats to syndication revenue for television networks and movie studios. Instead, the content owners have found deep-pocketed new customers. In June, shelled out about $200 million to license 4,000 old TV episodes from Viacom (VIA), which owns classics such as I Love Lucy and more-contemporary shows such like crime drama CSI. For studios and networks, this streaming revenue is growing at double-digit rates, says Bloomberg Industries analyst Paul Sweeney. “It’s been kind of found money for them.”

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