Viacom opens up Daily Show archive
October 18, 2007
Viacom has put online the entire eight year archive of its top rating comedy series, Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in a move which will be closely watched by all the major networks, advertisers, telcos and the burgeoning new media video industry..

This means much less than it appears to. South Park is, by far, the Comedy Channel's prime earner; its reruns, on cable, generate more income from advertising than the Daily Show's original programs, and no one — even in the "burgeoning" (sic) new media video industry — has yet been foolish enough to suggest the public might want to own or rent the Daily Show's regular episodes on a DVD or see them as reruns on TV. In that regard this announcement says far more about the fact that the future looks very much like the past: no one has yet found a way to make money in show business except by (1) selling tickets or selling merchandise or (2) getting advertisers to buy interruptions to the free show. The second model works only when the show is an original (like a Google search) or so wonderful that people want to see it again (like I Love Lucy, CSI or South Park). Mr. Stewart (unlike his colleague Monsieur Colbert) has yet to achieve that level of wonder. so the Comedy Channel has decided that his reruns can safely be given away for nothing. As Mr. Flannigan, the executive vice president of digital for MTV Networks Entertainment Group put it: "It's not a show that would go on DVD and it's not a show that would go into syndication, so it's essentially been lost to history."


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