For a dirt-simple cartoon that specializes in humor that makes moms blush, South Park has been by any measure wildly successful. Now the rights to stream its 23 seasons of reruns are apparently worth the budget of a small city—$500 million.
Calling it "Hollywood’s rerun mania," Bloomberg has further details as to the kind of insane payday show creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone could receive:
The show’s creators and media giant Viacom Inc. expect to share between $450 million and $500 million by selling the streaming rights to the animated comedy, one of the longest-running TV series in U.S. history, according to people familiar with the matter.
As many as a half-dozen companies are bidding for exclusive U.S. streaming rights to past episodes of the show, which has been available on Walt Disney Co.’s Hulu in recent years. Viacom and the show’s creators hope to secure a new deal by the end of 2019 and could decide on the winning bidder as soon as this weekend, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private.
South Park viewers might not care that much, as it's obvious the show isn't actually going anywhere.
Bloomberg further reports that hugely popular shows like this have "skyrocketed" in value because "new streaming platforms [are] seeking programming that can lure subscribers and provide an edge over rivals."
Recent streaming acquisitions that have reaped similar mountains of cash include The Office, which will go from Netflix to Comcast's new "Peacock" streaming service, and Friends, which will ride those boatloads of green onto HBO Max.
What this means for other shows is anyone's guess, but it's likely that transactions in the name of offering great streaming choices will make several more multimillionaires in the near future. And prompt a lot of actors to put clauses in their contracts about profiting from reruns of shows they are in for decades to come.