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Sightsound inks deal for ‘South Park’

Site execs claim downloads faster, cheaper than VHS

NEW YORK — Online content distribution site Sightsound.com has inked a deal with Comedy Central to offer all of the back episodes of “South Park” as well as the recently canceled “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist” for paid download over the Web.

Pennsylvania-based Sightsound, which recently gained notoriety for commissioning the $3 million mini-movie “Quantum Project” for a direct-to-Web release, will offer six early episodes of each show starting today.

Company expects to offer six more “South Park” episodes within the next four months. All the shows will be available simultaneously on Sightsound.com and ComedyCentral.com.

Cheaper, faster

Sightsound chief exec Scott Sander says the downloads offer an alternative to buying VHS or DVD copies of the episodes that is cheaper and faster, especially in areas with minimal access to retail outlets. And for “Dr. Katz,” video copies are not currently available at all.

“For people sitting out in rural Iowa, it might take them a long time to get to a videostore,” he told Daily Variety. Site also offers faster access to the content than can be had through ordering hard copies online from a retailer like Amazon.com, he added.

Downloads will cost $2.50 for a two-day rental license and $4.95 for a full purchase. The files will take about five minutes to download with a broadband Internet connection, or more than an hour with dial-up access.

Ken Locker, Comedy Central’s senior VP in charge of new-media projects, said the cabler sees the Sightsound deal as a means to experiment with new windows of distribution online, especially for shows, like “Dr. Katz,” that no longer have a home on the network itself.

“This will be a great opportunity if it works,” Locker said. “The beauty of digital media is there’s virtually no incremental cost between the first copy and the thousandth copy.”

Locker added that Comedy Central will consider making more shows available for download depending on the response to the Sightsound deal.

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