South Park Comes Full Circle, Though Viacom Doesn't Seem To Realize It

from the history-lessons-needed dept

Kevin Stapp writes in to let us know that Viacom has decided to put every episode of South Park online. The article quotes MTV Networks Chairman and Chief Executive Judy McGrath talking about having TV shows online doesn't hurt their viewership and could actually help: "One does not diminish the other by any stretch of the imagination." This is something that plenty of folks have noticed before, but perhaps something McGrath shouldn't be saying it as her parent company is trying to convince a court that YouTube is costing it money. McGrath's quote probably won't play very well in court.

However, what's even odder is that no one (in the article, at least) seems to recognize that this is simply a case of South Park coming full circle. The only reason that South Park even is a TV show is because of the video short created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone got passed widely around the internet back in 1995 and 1996. Also, once the show launched, it was one of the first TV shows that fans quickly put online and shared, helping promote the popularity of the show. I still remember people passing around links to the first few episodes in order to round up people to get together to watch the newest episodes on TV. And, what happened? You guessed it... Comedy Central flipped out and started threatening all of the sites that were hosting the episodes. Yet here we are, a decade later and its big news that the company has finally (partially) come to its senses?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 2:40pm

    Yeah, I remember passing around The Spirit of Christmas on zip disks. Troops too. That one took 4 zips.

     

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  2.  
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    Eric the Grey, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 3:05pm

    There is a difference...

    Between uploads going to YouTube and similar sites, and the Viacom putting up their own sites. It's a matter of money. Viacom makes money from their own sites in the form of advertisements, while they make nothing from YouTube except perhaps more followers.

    Production companies like this are only concerned with their bottom line, and while it's true it costs them nothing for clips to be up on YouTube, they only see that they're not making any cash from it, thus they try to cut off their noses despite their faces. It's sad, really, but I can understand their reasoning, even if I don't agree with it.


    EtG

     

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  3.  
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    Brad, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 3:12pm

    Cut off...despite?

    Sorry, just thought you should know, it's "cut off their noses TO SPITE their faces, not despite"

     

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  4.  
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    TheDock22, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 3:13pm

    No competition

    I think that their would be no contest from sites like YouTube is all the shows were free on Comedy Central's website. A lot of the show on YouTube are horrible quality and can be hard to find. It would be awesome to know you can watch any episode you want in good quality be visiting Comedy Central (or southpark.com or where ever they are hosting the shows).

     

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  5.  
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    bmac (profile), Nov 29th, 2007 @ 3:25pm

    Re: No competition

    Someone yesterday called you the new "Dorpus", but I have to agree with your latest post.

    I have the "Trapped in the Closet" episode on my PC right now. I would rather hit a Comedy Central site to watch the episodes I'm interested in. Granted, they would be very small (or very grainy if full-screen) and not comparable to DVD quality, but that only makes me more apt to go out and buy it on DVD if I really like it.

    The same logic fits the music industry, as has been stated millions of times here.

     

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  6.  
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    Manohar Dudda, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 3:39pm

    all seasons and more already available online!

    Has Viacom taken a look at http://www.southparkzone.com yet??

     

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  7.  
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    Gunnar, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 4:21pm

    South Park devoted an entire episode to mp3 piracy a few years ago, coming down pretty hard against the labels.

    Of course, they may have simply been going for the easy targets of Lars Ulric and Brittany Spears. With those guys it can be hard to tell what they believe.

     

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  8.  
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    chrisinsocalif, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 4:24pm

    "Between uploads going to YouTube and similar sites, and the Viacom putting up their own sites. It's a matter of money. Viacom makes money from their own sites in the form of advertisements, while they make nothing from YouTube except perhaps more followers."

    Sounds like CEO's still cant grasp the reality of technology. YouTube has Millions of viewers, much more than viacom's site. Why release video's on a site that wont get much traffic in comparison to youtube where your audience is much larger? In turn can create a bigger profit if you get more viewers and sell more merchandise like DVD's. It worked when the show started why not now? It's because they dont understand the power of the internet.
    The World of Warcraft episode was shown all over the net, and created a great hype not only for the show but for the video game as well. Me along with many other people bought season 10 just cause of that episode. Much more success can come out of you tube than putting a limit on what you are trying to show.

     

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  9.  
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    Overcast, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 4:48pm

    Like Metallica... it's a good example of them turning their back on what made them as popular as they are.

    I guess it's good - but a bit late.. South Park's kinda old and worn out now.

     

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  10.  
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    TheFurtureBuzz, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 5:58pm

    someone alert google lawyers to this thread

    really good point !

     

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  11.  
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    Eric the Grey, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Cut off...despite?

    Yea, probably. I never claimed to be the most literate person in the world. :)

    EtG

     

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  12.  
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    boomhauer (profile), Nov 29th, 2007 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Cut off...despite?

    HEHEH that "despite" was the best thing ive heard all day.

    Like a guy i know who says "look a gifted horse in the mouth"...

     

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  13.  
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    atomatom, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 7:10pm

    #9 "Like Metallica... it's a good example of them turning their back on what made them as popular as they are."

    Yeah, except Metallica was already pretty popular before filesharing had any real influence. You know, like when they released Master of Puppets, ...And Justice For All, and the Black Album?

     

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  14.  
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    Robert, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 7:22pm

    Re: # 13

    #9 "Like Metallica... it's a good example of them turning their back on what made them as popular as they are." Yeah, except Metallica was already pretty popular before filesharing had any real influence. You know, like when they released Master of Puppets, ...And Justice For All, and the Black Album?
    He's talking about the fans dingus. You know, the people who bought the CD's and went to the concerts and yes later shared the mp3's.

     

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  15.  
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    atomatom, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Re: # 13

    Well it sure as hell sounds like he's making a direct comparison to the article here where it states South Park became popular due to a short film passed around the internet, a fanbase which Comedy Central "turned their back on".

     

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  16.  
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    Enrico Suarve, Nov 30th, 2007 @ 12:50am

    Re:

    "Metallica was already pretty popular before filesharing had any real influence"

    True enough but not 100% valid - I distinctly remember me and my mates swapping taped radio recordings, lending each other the albums to copy and clubbing up to buy their albums together when we were kids. This was normal behaviour at the time and apparently was "crippling the recording industry" back then

    OK its not quite filesharing but it’s the same basic thing and it ended in the same way - a group of people who ended up fans and bought a lot more Metallica merchandise as a result

    Sorry but Lars’s comments have never washed with me - he turned his back on his fan base and went for greed instead

    The best bit for me was when a Metallica fan band 'Beatallica' (strongly recommended by the way) ended up getting sued by the Beatles IP owners for doing beetles covers in a Metallica style, Lars then stepped in and helped them, partly by arguing that they would introduce new listeners to Beatles music as far as I'm aware

    I may love their music but I am at least awake to the idea that their ideas on IP Protection may be slightly hypocritical at best

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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