South Park Holiday Shows Head for PPV

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Comedy Central will package four holiday episodes of its popular series South Park for pay-per-view distribution, beginning this month.

The special, titled "South Park Holiday Memories," will retail at a suggested $3.95, said Comedy senior vice president of affiliate sales Brad Samuels.

The PPV special will also include exclusive footage of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Samuels said. A Spanish-language version of the episodes will also be made available.

In Demand, DirecTV Inc. and Dish Network will distribute the special throughout November and December. Samuels said the network decided to offer the episodes after talking to operators about finding PPV-programming alternatives to boxing and professional wrestling.

"We thought that this would be a good chance to enter the PPV business," Samuels said. "It's a low-risk opportunity to determine whether we could be successful on PPV."

Comedy Central is hoping the special can generate between a 0.25 percent and 0.50 percent buy-rate. If successful, Samuels said, the network would look at other future PPV opportunities for its programming.

"If we pursue PPV opportunities in the future, we would not be as likely to repurpose shows that have already aired on the network, but rather create new episodes for first run on PPV," he said.

South Park episodes featured in the special include "Starvin' Marvin," "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo," "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson," and "Are You There God, It's Me Jesus," said the network.

Though the deal is Comedy Central's first foray into PPV, the network has teamed with In Demand to offer video-on-demand programming in tests with several operators throughout the country.

The network has also reached a distribution agreement with Internet distributor Sightsound.com to offer downloads of two Comedy animated series: South Park and Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist. Sightsound.com will stream six early episodes of South Park and Dr. Katz - which no longer runs on the network - for a $2.50 two-day rental fee or a purchase price of $4.95 per episode.

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