Apple reportedly won't bid for 'South Park' streaming rights because of China's ban on the show
- Sources familiar with the offer to buy streaming rights to "South Park" told Bloomberg that Apple probably won't bid for the show, because its episode "Band in China" got the show literally banned in China.
- China is a major manufacturing asset for Apple, as well as a top consumer of Apple products.
- Viacom and "South Park" creators are expected to make between $450 and $500 million for the streaming rights to the long-running animated series, and as many as six companies are bidding, Bloomberg reports.
- Hulu has streamed "South Park" since 2015, and is still interested in retaining the series if the price doesn't go too high, while Netflix has already dropped out of the bidding.
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Viacom, the owner of Comedy Central's long-running animated series "South Park," is looking to sell the streaming rights to the series for between $450 and $500 million, according to Bloomberg.
Sources familiar with the bidding told Bloomberg that Apple probably won't extend a bid, due to the show's recent ban in China after the second episode in season 23, "Band in China" included a humorous attack on Chinese censorship. China reportedly ceased all streaming and discussion of the show on its state-controlled internet.
Apple is in the midst of developing its ambitious streaming platform, Apple TV+, which is already slated with highly-anticipated original content. The company relies on Chinese manufacturing for many of its products, and China makes up a great deal of its consumer base. Thus, sources told Bloomberg that it was unlikely that Apple would want to host "South Park" on Apple TV+.
Conversely, Apple also appears to be crafting a family-friendly content selection on its streaming service, with relatively non-controversial content in general.
Bloomberg also reports that as many as six streaming services are in the running to acquire "South Park." The show has been available to stream on Hulu since 2015, and Hulu is interested in retaining the show as long as it does not become too expensive.
Meanwhile, Netflix has dropped out of negotiating for "South Park," according to Bloomberg, but NBC's Peacock and HBO Max are both angling for the series.
After "South Park" made fun of China's censorship of Western entertainment, resulting in its apparent ban, it posted a sarcastic "apology" that drew on the recent NBA-China clash over an NBA executive's endorsement of the Hong Kong protests. The show also mocked LeBron James for his comments on the incident in another episode and declared "f--- the Chinese government."
Representatives for Apple didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
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