WarnerMedia acquires 'The Big Bang Theory' for new platform

All 279 episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" will be available when HBO Max launches in spring next year (AFP Photo/Frederic J. BROWN)

New York (AFP) - WarnerMedia group announced Tuesday that it had secured the rights for "The Big Bang Theory" on its upcoming online platform HBO Max, the latest move in the fight for back catalogs between streaming services.

All 279 episodes of the comedy show, stretching across 12 seasons, will be available when HBO Max launches in spring next year, the company said in a statement.

Classic television series have become a hot commodity in the escalating battle for streaming supremacy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that WarnerMedia, a subsidiary of telecom operator AT&T, had agreed to pay $500 million over five years for "The Big Bang Theory."

WarnerMedia refused to confirm the sum to AFP.

"It's one of the biggest shows on broadcast television of the last decade, and the fact that we get to bring it to a streaming platform for the first time in the US is a coup for our new offering," said Robert Greenblatt, WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman.

WarnerMedia has already agreed to shell out $425 million over five years to acquire "Friends" for the new platform.

Netflix said on Monday it had acquired the global rights to popular sitcom "Seinfeld" from 2021, without revealing the value of the transaction.

It came after the streaming giant lost the rights to "Friends" and the American version of "The Office" -- the two most-watched series it has on offer.

NBCUniversal is paying $500 million over five years for "The Office."

Major players like Netflix and Amazon are keeping an eye on Apple and Disney, which will launch their streaming services later this year, and then NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia in 2020.

NBCUniversal said Tuesday that its new platform would be called "Peacock" and would be available from April 2020.

The streaming service will air classic NBC comedies such as "30 Rock," "Cheers," and "Will and Grace," the entertainment giant said in a statement.

Streaming platforms are spending billions of dollars creating new content but are also expanding their offerings by snapping up back catalogs of popular old shows.

Netflix is also soon to lose the rights to the catalog of "Star Wars," Pixar and Marvel superhero films, which belong to Disney.