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Stone, Parker Sign Landmark Ad-Sharing South Park Deal

In signing their latest deal with Comedy Central, SOUTH PARK creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have secured a precedent making agreement to share online ad revenues 50-50 with the network. The overall deal worth $75 million will see Stone and Parker overseeing the new online incubator SouthParkStudios.com, which will develop new ways to exploit SOUTH PARK characters as well as develop original IPs. Additionally, the deal reups the TV series through 2011. The demented duo will see big salaries increases as well as advances against back-end profits.

"This extension and the formation of the joint venture are the beginnings of a new era for SOUTH PARK and Comedy Central and a natural evolution of our long-term and prosperous relationship with Trey and Matt," said Doug Herzog, president, MTV Networks' Entertainment Group. "With the new partnership in South Park Digital Studios and the creation of the digital animation studio, we have a tremendous opportunity to truly maximize the potential of the franchise and the incredible creative talents of Matt and Trey across every imaginable platform."

Stone said, "Three more years of SOUTH PARK will give us the opportunity to offend that many more people. And since Trey and I are in charge of the digital side of SOUTH PARK, we can offend people on their cell phones, game consoles and computers too. It's all very exciting for us."

Whether this deal will change the landscape of negotiations between producers and talent over digital rights is yet to been seen, however several key factors went into this rare deal going through. Due to a clause in their original contract, all revenue earned outside of TV broadcast was considered back-end profit. This has held back Comedy Central's parent Viacom from moving the channel's top rated show into cyberspace, mobile and videogames. However, with the increased desire to exploit properties on the Net, Viacom was eager to come to some agreement with their golden boys, who have a 10-year track record of helping build and helping sustain the growth of the basic cable network.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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