Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

“SouthPark” to NetFlix, “Stripes” to YouTube?

bill-murray-stripesNot every online video deal can be a needle-mover. But even the smaller ones are worth watching because they give you a sense of how far Hollywood has progressed when it comes to the Web–and how far the TV and movie guys still have to go.

Today’s news is a two-parter: Viacom’s (VIA) MTV Networks is moving more than 300 episodes of its TV shows, including the first nine seasons of “South Park,” to Netflix’s on-demand streaming video program. And Sony (SNE) is reportedly considering a deal to put some of its movies on Google’s (GOOG) YouTube.

Both the announced deal and the proposed one are good news for consumers, but both also underscore Hollywood’s halting, on/off relationship with Web video: It knows its audience wants to watch its product on the Internet, but it’s not sure about the best way to do that. And it’s terrified of hollowing out its existing business.

Hence, CNET says the proposed YouTube deal would only move a tiny fraction of Sony’s films on to the video site. I’m guessing one of them would be the Bill Murray classic, “Stripes,” since that’s one of the ones available on Crackle, Sony’s attempt to build its own video aggregator.

And even with the Viacom/MTV Networks deal, Netflix (NFLX) will have fewer than 13,000 videos available for on-demand streaming, compared to a DVD library of more than 100,000 titles.

Still, even baby steps are steps forward, right? And while we’re waiting for more significant deals to materialize–like, say, that Disney/Hulu announcement–here’s a “South Park” clip you still won’t be able to get on Netflix because it comes from the show’s 12th season. But you can watch it on the show’s excellent South Park Studios site.


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”