The South Park streaming war is heating up. Warner Bros Discovery Inc. (NASDAQ:WBD) has filed a lawsuit against Paramount Global (NASDAQ: PARA) and the creators of South Park, and the co-creators — Trey Parker and Matt Stone — claiming it was not given exclusive streaming rights to the show’s upcoming episodes.
South Park Streaming Wars: WBD vs. PARA
The lawsuit, filed in a New York state court in Manhattan on Friday, claims that WBD paid PARA and the co-creators more than $500M for exclusive streaming rights to more than 300 episodes of the show in the U.S. on HBO Max, back in 2019.
However, WBD claimed that production was halted due to the pandemic in 2020, and it wouldn’t receive season 24. Additionally, Warner Brothers allege South Park’s creators started to produce other new content. At the same time, PARA geared up to launch its streaming service — Paramount+, which streamed South Park.
According to the complaint, Paramount, Parker, and Stone betrayed Warner Bros Discovery in August 2021 when Paramount announced it would stream new “South Park” episodes and specials on Paramount until 2027.
Warner Bros now expects to receive less than half of the new South Park episodes it was promised.
Warner Bros Discovery claims that the defendants are in breach of their contract and are seeking damages of hundreds of millions of dollars. The South Park streaming war is heating up, and this lawsuit can continue for quite a while.
Paramount has responded to the lawsuit saying that they believe it is “without merit,” and the company looks forward to demonstrating they didn’t violate any terms in the agreement.
With Paramount gaining digital rights to South Park, it can attract hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Back in 2020, South Park’s pandemic special garnered more than 4 million total viewers in the record-breaking premiere at the time.
It’ll be interesting to see how this intellectual property case shapes up to be. After all, South Park is a popular animated series and can bring value to any company exclusively streaming the content.