South Park's creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Photo by AP
The Briefing
Entertainment

ViacomCBS’ South Park Decision Shows Industry’s Muddled Strategy

Photo: South Park's creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Photo by AP

Most big TV companies are now squarely in the streaming game. But no one can accuse them of abandoning their buddies in the traditional cable world. Take ViacomCBS, which proudly announced today it had renewed its deal with the makers of “South Park” for several new seasons of that hit animated series, to run on… you guessed it, the decades-old cable channel Comedy Central. Oh, and Paramount+, the company’s brand new streaming service, gets some movies the pair will make. 

Viewers might be gravitating toward streaming, but the big entertainment companies like ViacomCBS still make most of their money from old-style TV channels carried on cable. That means they’re still hostage to that system. That is demonstrated even in how they market the streaming services, by relying heavily on distribution through the cable firms, as though the streamers were just another cable channel. For instance, ViacomCBS  announced today that it will offer Paramount+ to European customers of Comcast’s Sky satellite service. ViacomCBS has done a spate of similar deals in recent weeks with U.S. cable services like Charter Communications and Cox.

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